The Lincoln Highway Nitty Gritty antiques festival will be returning this year, with a preview night on July 3 and the all day festival on July 4.

Karrie Clark, chair of the Lincoln Highway Nitty Gritty antiques festival said that offering a preview night for the festival was something they had looked at doing in 2020.

“It was something we discussed, as the Fourth of July holiday stretches over a weekend,” Clark said. “A lot of our vendors come into town the night before to set up for the festival, but they’ve always been reluctant to sell anything on July 3, as the festival doesn’t start until July 4.”

Clark noted that one of the changes this year people may not notice but has been made because of the COVID-19 pandemic is the additional space between different vendors at the festival.

“That’s something we did because of COVID-19,” Clark said. “We were looking to keep a bit more social distancing between vendors.”

Another change this year was one that had already been proposed for 2020 as well – extending the festival an additional block of First Street. The festival now runs from Bauman’s corner on the west to just in front of First Street Community Center on the east. The parking lot will still be open at First Street Community Center.

“It was something the committee had started discussing in January 2020 and we were looking forward to rolling out that additional space in 2020,” Clark said.

Of course, the COVID-19 pandemic canceled the festival in 2020. Clark volunteered to be committee chair in 2020, after serving on the committee in 2019 as a member.

And Clark noted that the COVID-19 pandemic has definitely impacted the festival.

“We’ve had to constantly update and replan things, due to COVID-19,” she said. “When we started this year, we were looking at how we bring this festival forward with mask guidelines still in place. Once those have been lifted and with the increase of vaccinations in the community, we’ve had to roll with those changes and plan again for what the festival looks like this year.”

Clark said the thing she is really looking forward to as a committee chair is just the festival returning after a year in hiatus.

“It’s been a long 2020, and it’s nice to see Mount Vernon and the community returning to normal,” Clark said. “We’re very excited to see this festival return this year. Based off the numbers seen for Chalk the Walk and the Chocolate Stroll with some unprecedented numbers, we’re really excited to see vendors and people attending this festival this year.”

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