The City of Rockmart has been slowly blossoming into the antique hub of Northwest Georgia, and with the success of the first ever Rock Market Antiques Festival earlier this month, few would deny the local impact of those selling classic décor, old-timey knick-knacks, and other vintage goods.
While the city’s various thrift stores and antique shops have been operating largely independently, the September 14 festival saw local and neighboring businesses join hands to bring hundreds of items to consumers in a single, convenient location.
Now and Then of Rockmart, Cotton Splinters Marketplace & Christmas Shoppe, White Tulip Market, and Treasured Thriftique/Mixed Market served as sponsors for the event, but locals could be seen picking up items from at least 25 different vendors as they ventured around the downtown area in front of the Veteran’s Memorial.
The relationship between businesses is usually one of competition, but Now and Then’s Tina Lanier explained how the festival’s collaborative nature actually worked to benefit both the vendors and the customers.
“Antique shoppers are a unique breed,” Lanier said. “Most shops would want to be the only one in town. If you’re an antique shop, you do not want to be the only one in town because antiquers have a desire to go where there’s several shops in order to make the trip a destination event.”
Lanier was right. Whether enticed by the various products being offered or the live music being played, the oppressive afternoon heat wasn’t enough to stop the dozens of locals who made their way to the festival throughout the day.
The entertainment lineup included talent such as Polk County local and “The Voice” contestant Dalton Dixon, the band Tried and True, Heirborn, and the Rex Garner led band Deeper than Shallow. The festival was free, and citizens were welcome to sit and listen even if they hadn’t purchased anything from the event.
The Rock Market Antiques Festival obviously catered towards those who already have a passion for classic goods, but another important function of the event was to help eliminate the stigma that sometimes surrounds antiques. As customers were drawn to downtown Rockmart, the old-timey goods they were greeted by remained in high-quality despite their age.
“I think people are figuring out that they can get a quality, well-made item at a vintage antique shop for a fraction of what they would pay for at a good furniture store, and the quality is far superior than anything acquired at a ‘box’ store,” Lanier explained. “It’s going to stand up. It’s going to last for many more years to come.”
It’s unclear if the festival is going to return next year, but those who enjoyed the event have local businesses and the City of Rockmart to thank for the good times.