Four years. Four Years in a row I have now attended this fair at one of their locations. That makes it a tradition, right? I hope so. I love traditions.
Each year Country Living Magazine has a fair in Nashville, TN, Rhinebeck, NY, Columbus, OH, and Atlanta, GA. Someday I'd like to go attend the New York and Ohio shows but for now, I'll settle with Tennessee and Georgia. The first year I went, I had just moved to Georgia and my friend Liz and I decided to go down for the weekend, camp at Stone Mountain where the fair was located outside of Atlanta, and see what we could pick up. Little did I know I was going to get sucked into this event and love every moment of it so much that I'd want to return again and again.
The Country Living Fair is a mix of antique/vintage items and handmade crafts. There are artists, seamstresses, food vendors. But I'm sure it's no surprise that I go, more than anything, for the weathered treasures.
Because of who is putting on the show, the standards are higher for what gets into the show. The antique vendors especially pull out all the stops and not only bring their best wares, but style their booths in the most amazing ways.
This year I went with my friend Samantha and we stayed in the city with a friend of hers who went with us as well. I honestly think half the fun of going to this fair over and over, is seeing all of the different things people are interested in. I got so focused on the rusty and crusty that I somehow completely passed over the fir scented candles and gluten free pie crust that the others picked up.
It's pretty much a dream of mine to be a vendor there some day. I talked to quite a few of the vendors there this year and I got the impression from many, if not most, of them that they travel around the country doing events like this throughout the year; most don't have a brick and mortar shop. They work really hard, and I know its exhausting. But I also think it would be exciting and rewarding.
I know this is going to sound silly but this giant pile of gourds is one of my favorite parts of the Country Living Fair. It's always placed right at the entrance, perfect for a photo-op. We joked a lot this year about how fall is really "Decorative Gourd Season" but they're just so fun! Last year, when we went to the first fair at the Nashville location in April, I was confused at first as to why there wasn't a giant pile of gourds. Oh yeaahhhhh, because it's Spring, duh. They had a giant pile of geraniums but it just wasn't the same. Keep in mind, if you ever have the opportunity to attend the Atlanta fair, that if you wait till the end of the fair on Sunday, they sell off each of the gourds in the pile for pretty cheap so you can take a bit of the fair home with you (in case you haven't spent enough money already).
I didn't actually manage to get a film shot of what I bought at the fair which is unfortunate. But I can tell you each piece was unique, at least to me. I bought a vintage, blush plaid, flannel shirt, a purple glass bottle and a blue glass ink well bottle, a Canonet camera from the 1960's, a red transferware plate, and an old Kraft Pimento Cheese box along with a few other little trinkets.
The longer I work in this industry, selling vintage treasures, the more I realize that these things are exactly that, just things. Almost everything will come around again at some point. But at the Country Living Fair, not only are there treasures that are harder to find than usual, but attending is more about the experience than anything. I have very little desire to go by myself. Being with other people, who appreciate the beauty of a handmade product, a treasure from the past, and experiencing it all beneath the Georgia pines, has come to be the best part of the fair every year.
...So who wants to go next year?
Also, if you love the finds and styling in these photos, check out my Country Living Magazine and my favorite vendors:
Rhine River Antiques