FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. (WTVD) -- The Holly Day Fair returned to the Fayetteville Crown Exposition Center on Thursday, after being canceled in 2020 because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
"It really is our kickoff to the holiday season," said Summer Jones, the manager of Johnson Florist, based out of Stedman.
Though Jones said their business was strong last year even without the event, they project to be up double-digits percentwise this year, in part because of the event's return.
"This is part of the foot traffic that we don't get in the store, so when you're able to network and work with tens of thousands of people vs. just your daily foot traffic and local business, it definitely helps propel us forward," Jones said of her booth, located right near the entrance.
Sherry Vernon, owner of The Pickin Coop Antique Mall in Fayetteville, chose to open a booth for the first time this year.
"We've had a great year, and we want to build upon that. Because we know there's still people in town who don't even know that we're here. So between what we're selling here this weekend and letting people know about us and come see us and those transfer those sales back to Fayetteville," Vernon said.
More than 150 vendors are set up for the four-day event, with an organizer estimating about 60% of vendors are from North Carolina, with the rest traveling in from out-of-state. That includes Tracy Stiff, owner of Alta in Rock Hill, South Carolina.
"We do 13 shows a year, and that's a majority of our business. And all the shows (last year) were canceled with COVID," said Stiff, who said 2020 was her worst year in business.
Stiff, who has attended the Holly Day Fair for 16 years, was encouraged by early sales Thursday.
"They're very excited to see us again, and we're very excited to see them. And they're buying, which is great," Stiff said.
The event is presented by The Junior League of Fayetteville and is in its 54th year.
"All the funds raised through our hourly raffle, our 50/50 raffle, our vendor fees, our ticket sales all go back to the community through various grants, scholarships, sponsorships that The Junior League of Fayetteville does," said Leonna Byrd, Exhibitor Chair Sustaining Advisor of the fair.
The event runs until 8 p.m. Thursday, from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday.
ABC11 Together is a proud sponsor of the event.