eclectic trade days

April Hensley, owner of Hensley Creek Candles, offered an array of soy scented candles at Eclectic Trade Day on Saturday. The Herald / Briana Wilson

For the third month in a row, Eclectic Town Hall’s parking lot has been filled with vendors participating in Trade Days.

Town event coordinator and councilmember Carmen Winslett said nearly 30 vendors took part in the event. Winslett has worked to grow the event at the request of residents.

“People have been saying that they want more vendors and we’ve made it happen,” Winslett said. “There’s something here for everybody.”

Offerings included jewelry, crafts, hats, plastic food storage containers, clothes, candles, food and much more. Trade Days, which runs March through December, takes place every second Saturday of the month from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. 

But in the midst of COVID-19, Winslett said turnout for Trade Days has suffered.

“We put the event outside, the vendors are spaced out and people are wearing masks, but we’re still not getting as good of a turnout as we’d like,” Winslett said.

Winslett said the current situation is a tough one because she wants to do what she can to help area businesses that may be struggling to make it through COVID-19, but she also understands residents are still worried about the virus. 

“Businesses are looking for events to participate in because a lot of events are being canceled because of COVID,” she said. “That’s a part of the reason why we’ve been able to fill up the parking lot for the past three months.”

On Saturday, Winslett said about 100 people attended the event through the course of the day. 

“We would like for more people to show up,” she said. “We’ll do whatever we can to try to make sure that everyone feels safe and follows proper safety guidelines.”

April Hensley, owner of Hensley Creek Candles, said she attends outdoor events regularly and all of them have seen drops in attendance. 

“We’re seeing about a third of the traffic that we usually see at these outdoor events, but our website sales have increased and we’re seeing more traffic on Facebook,” Hensley said. 

Despite the challenges created by COVID-19, Winslett said she’s grateful for everyone who attended the event and she’s looking forward to next month’s event. 

“The event was still great and hopefully as we continue attendance will improve,” she said. 

First-time vendors Ashley Campbell and April Henley with Campbell Farms said they were thankful for the opportunity to meet their customers in-person and for the chance to see what other businesses have to offer. 

“It’s been a really nice day,” Campbell said. “We’ve enjoyed talking to people and letting them know what we have to offer.”

The October Trade Day will serve as the town’s annual Cotton Festival. Winslett said about 80 vendors have already signed up to participate for the huge annual event which will feature over 100 vendors, an art and photo contest, dog show, chicken race, 5K Cotton Run and Fun Run, Cotton Queen Pageant, antique car and tractor shows, military vehicle display, Cotton Museum and an all new carnival-themed Kids Zone. The annual holiday festival will follow in December.

For more information, visit Eclectic Trade Days on Facebook.