Columbiana merchants to spring into the season

COLUMBIANA -It may not dip to the record low of 24 degrees like it was in 1946, but it could be chilly and rainy this weekend. Even so, the Springtime in Columbiana annual event will go on.

“Last year we had a lot of wind. We should be able to manage weather this year. We have thought about it and we are planning alternatives for rough weather,” event committee chairwoman Barbara Farrand said.

The committee met Tuesday morning and decided to move the popular French Market indoors this year. The market, a new staple last year, was featured in the Grace Church parking lot on Main Street but will be located inside the Columbiana Antique Gallery at 103 S. Main St. instead.

The French Market features about 20 different vendors geared flea-market, yard sale and antique items.

The retail shopping event showcases the city’s local businesses, who hold open houses for visitors from all over the area and even Pennsylvania. Typically, it features outdoor vendors, with some housed in tents, but the committee has opted to forgo that this year in anticipation of the weather, Farrand said.

“We had weather issues that we are trying to deal with this year. Nobody will be outside. We are anticipating maybe it is going to be cold, maybe a little bit of rain,” she said.

But that shouldn’t keep anyone from attending, since with the exception of things being moved indoors, the event will remain the same as it has in the past, she added.

Shops on Main Street will be open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday and Saturday for visitors, who will have the opportunity to purchase items on special bargain prices.

Visitors can also win a Discover Columbiana basket that will be raffled off and includes items donated by participating businesses valued at up to $600. It will be in display in the French Market and tickets for $5 each, with proceeds benefiting projects head up by the Columbiana Area Chamber of Commerce Tourism Committee.

The long-standing event is sponsored by the Chamber each year and draws people from as far as Pittsburgh, Pa. and Cleveland.

“It is something that a lot of people are accustomed to and expect… they come from all over,” Farrand said.

The city is already a popular draw for people interested in antiques and country crafts, she added.

Those interested in books will also have the opportunity to meet author Wendy Ritchie, a local native who will be signing copies of her latest book at the Columbiana Diner, also on Main Street.

Temperatures are expected to be at a high of 54 degrees Friday and 59 degrees Saturday, with rain expected. More information about the event can obtained by calling the Chamber at 330-482-2282.