Five years ago in 2018, when Ann Brussow decided to organize the Abilene Antique Festival there were 25 vendors with 49 booths, filling Kirby Street and Northeast Fourth Street.
This Saturday, when it takes place again from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m., there will be 48 vendors and 76 booths lining Kirby Street on both sides, the north side of Northeast Fourth Street, the north side of Northwest Fourth Street, and part of Spruce Street and jumping across Buckeye Avenue. The event will share Spruce Street with Arts and Ales which will take place at the same time.
This is the most vendors the event has ever had.
Not all of these booths will sell antiques — this year, the organizers have decided to allow some other vendors in — but the vast majority of them will have antiques and similar collectables for sale.
The event was born after Brussow spoke with Ricki and Jeff Elliott about why Abilene with all its antique stores did not have an antique festival and realizing that it was because they had no one to organize it, then deciding to create one herself.
The original goal was to promote local antique business and bring people to Abilene.
“We’ve grown, but it takes time for an event like this to grow,” Brussow said. “My initial vision was that the whole downtown would be covered.”
Brussow still helps out with the event, though she considers this the Elliotts’ event more than her own.
This year, the antique festival will take place alongside several other events, including the Arts and Ales, the Meadowlark Swap Meet, the Holm Automotive Car Show.
Vendors will come from all over — some of them driving from three or four hours away to set up their booths starting at 6:30 a.m.
“It does draw people to town,” Brussow said. “We’ve always had a good turnout as far as shopping and even that has grown as well. And I think the more vendors you have the more shoppers you’re going to have.”
The event draws all manner of antique collectors.
Brussow said she hopes all the vendors come away with good sales this year and that people walk away with a positive impression of Abilene.
“I want good weather and good crowds,” she said. “I want the vendors to be happy with their sales and I want people to look at our downtown, wander around, go to different stores that are open.”