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Antiquing is one of my favorite pasttimes but I especially love it in the spring when the sunny, warm weather encourages southerners within a few hours drive of east Tennessee to clean out their basements, barns and attics and set up shop in the tiny hamlet of Clinton, TN. Hundreds of antique dealers and just ordinary folks fill booths lining the streets for a day-long antiques fest where you can find everything from rusty old chicken feeders to antique French linens:
spring 2014 clinch river antiques festival

As you might imagine, an antiques show in the south will include a fair amount of primitive and country collectibles, like these wooden cheese boxes. Also known as pantry boxes, these round wooden containers were the Tupperware of their day. Filled with dry food items and stacked in a cool location, they protected goods from vermin and were a necessary fixture in every home to keep food fresh before refrigeration.  tower of antique cheese or pantry boxes

Another kitchen staple of yesteryear are butter molds. These plunger-and-cup style molds first gained popularity in 18th century Europe before catching on in America as well. The handcarved designs allowed homemakers and dairy farmers to imprint the molded butter with their farm’s logo, the family’s initials or just a decorative design.antique butter molds

But primitives weren’t the only pieces for sale. The rising popularity of mid-century Modern furniture guarantees them pride of place in many of the dealers’ booths and shops. This chartreuse yellow vinyl corner chair is one of a pair and had already sold by the time I discovered them:mid-century modern corner chair at Clinton TN antiques festival

Industrial items are another trendy collectible that I’ve noticed popping up at more antique shows. These two stage lamps were a steal at just $225 for the tall aluminum one and $89 for the smaller wooden one. industrial style stage lightingI really like the cobbled-together look of this one. If I ever come across an old spotlight like this, I’ll definitely DIY it into a floor lamp. industrial style stage lighting

Another great buy was this perfectly rusty cast iron planter filled with echeveria (or hens and chicks) for just $30. It was such a great deal, in fact, that my sister bought it. The planter’s previous owner did a fantastic job caring for the echeveria, which are succulents and prefer full sun and moderately dry, well-draining soil. Learn more about growing succulents in containers from our friends at HGTV Gardens. cast iron antique planter

I was sorely tempted to purchase this massive (and heavy!) cast iron horse’s head myself. It’s one of a pair and at $350 outside my bargain-hunter’s budget. The seller didn’t have much information on them but I can imagine the pair topping pillars on either side of a formal gate or garden: cast iron antique horse's head

Speaking of gardens — how clever is this fountain turned into a multi-tiered container garden? What a great idea for maximizing your planting space while repurposing an old fountain that is leaky or has a broken pump: burlap bag as a planter

Ready to go antiquing? Check this handy list to find an antiques festival in your area and let us know in the comments below — what type of antiques do you collect and where are your favorite antique shows?

MORE ADVENTURES IN ANTIQUING:
Adventures in Antiquing: Trending at High Point Furniture Market
Adventures in Antiquing: How to Restore an Old Wooden Bowl
Adventures in Antiquing: Upcycled Storage for Dog Toys
Adventures in Antiquing: Charleston Antiques Show Part 1
Adventures in Antiquing: Charleston Antiques Show Part 2
Adventures in Antiquing: (Easy!) Beachy Candle Makeover
Adventures in Antiquing: Repurposed Wooden Tray
Adventures in Antiquing: Crushing On Carrara Marble
Adventures in Antiquing: Old Toolbox Turned Magazine Caddy
Adventures in Antiquing: Old Clock Repurposed as a Frame
Adventures in Antiquing: Classical Busts
Adventures in Antiquing: Clinch River Spring Antiques Fair 2013
Adventures in Antiquing: Vintage Avon Bottle
Adventures in Antiquing: Salvaged Molding As Holiday Decor

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H. Camille SmithCamille is a managing editor for HGTV.com, fine artist and antique furniture devotee. As a former interior designer and Nickelodeon animator, she has a real passion for balanced, beautiful interiors...

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