Fairs, craft shows and bat flight

Chattanooga Times Free Press - ChattanoogaNow - - OUT & ABOUT - BY SU­SAN PIERCE STAFF WRITER Con­tact Su­san Pierce at spierce@times­freep­ress. com or 423-757-6284.

Sun­flower Sta­bles was the sec­ond barn sale to open in this area four years ago (the first be­ing Bird & Barn, founded one year ear­lier.) Al­though pop­u­lar in other ar­eas of the South, barn sales, so named be­cause they are held in barns, were still an un­known here. The de­but of barn sales co­in­cided with the pop­u­lar­ity at that time of barn wed­dings, and a lot of the items sold in the sales were along that rus­tic, home­spun line of decor.

“We chose a barn sale be­cause we had been to them as con­sumers and liked the com­bi­na­tion of crafts, an­tiques, jew­elry, bou­tique items, etc., that were sold in that par­tic­u­lar type of venue. We didn’t just want a craft show,” says Deb­o­rah Lofton, a founder of Sun­flower Sta­bles.

“The first one I ever went to was the Straw­berry Patch barn sale in Hartsville, Ten­nes­see. We de­cided if we would drive three hours there and three hours back to at­tend one, surely peo­ple would drive 30 min­utes or so to come to one that we could host,” she ex­plains.

And they did. Sun­flower Sta­bles has hosted more than 1,000 vis­i­tors over its two- day sale — and that was with­out the ben­e­fit of road­side vis­i­bil­ity. Its lo­ca­tion in a Cleve­land barn couldn’t be seen from the road.

To cor­rect that prob­lem, the or­ga­niz­ers of Sun­flower Sta­bles are mov­ing this week­end’s fourth sale to the new Col­legedale

In ad­di­tion to mov­ing the barn sale ear­lier in the fall, Fri­day’s show hours have been length­ened to 7 p.m. to al­low peo­ple to stop by af­ter work.

Com­mons, lo­cated just be­hind Imag­i­na­tion Sta­tion, the Col­legedale City Hall and li­brary branch.

“The Com­mons is a smaller space, but has given us more ex­po­sure to the com­mu­nity,” says Lofton. “It’s a more pop­u­lated area, there’s a lot of ex­cite­ment at that par­tic­u­lar place right now with t he Com­mons hav­ing just opened, Cam­bridge Square be­ing nearby and its Fri­day night mar­kets. That whole area is bustling right now.”

More than 40 food and craft ven­dors will fill The Com­mons pavil­ion.

Lofton says in ad­di­tion to mov­ing the barn sale ear­lier in the fall, Fri­day’s show hours have been length­ened to 7 p. m. to al­low peo­ple to stop by af­ter work. Also new this year: four food trucks on-site, as well as ex­pected fes­ti­val con­ces­sions such as ket­tle corn and hot dogs.

“Hav­ing food trucks is a big deal to us be­cause we’ve wanted to do that and couldn’t un­til this year,” Lofton says.

Barn sales are dif­fer­ent from craft sales in that items sold are less the kitschy hand­made crafts and lean more to­ward gift ideas. For ex­am­ple: dec­o­ra­tive hand­made signs by Nerdy Birds and whipped soap from Rus­tic Rooster.

Lofton es­ti­mates half of the crafts ven­dors are new to this mar­ket. Among the new­com­ers will be Jean Overmyer’s paint­ings, hand­made greet­ing cards from 3wee­birds, jew­elry from Barn Door Bou­tique, Matilda Jane chil­dren’s cloth­ing and scrap­book­ing prod­ucts from Cre­ations by Sweet.

“We are very ex­cited about our new venue and new date this year,” Lofton says. “We have strug­gled with the cold and rain for the last cou­ple of years and hope­fully we can change that this year.”

BATS, BEER AND BLUE­GRASS

To the bat cave! Ruby Falls and the South­east­ern Cave Con­ser­vancy are pre­sent­ing a con­ser­va­tion- themed event on Satur­day that com­bines three lo­cal fa­vorites — craft beers, bar­be­cue and blue­grass by Slim Pick­ins and Caney Creek Com­pany. The party will be capped with a view­ing of en­dan­gered gray bats fly­ing out of Fricks Cave. The bat-view­ing is a fundraiser for the Stew­ard­ship En­dow­ment Fund, which helps pre­serve 170 caves on 31 pre­serves in six states.

BEST ROAD TRIP

The Ro­tary Club in Pi­geon Forge, Ten­nes­see, has held a crafts show in Ro­tary Park for four decades. It’s set up un­der a red- striped tent in the big green space that’s easy to find right be­hind Pi­geon Forge’s land­mark, the Old Mill, near the at­trac­tions on Old Mill Square.

The P i ge o n Forge Ro­tary Club Craft Fair has 75 ven­dors ex­hibit­ing — but they don’t all stay the whole time. They can ro­tate in and out, which re­sults in con­stantly chang­ing mer­chan­dise.

This crafts show opens Sept. 26, but con­tin­ues for a month. So leaf look­ers who wait a cou­ple of weeks can com­bine a quick week­end get­away to view fo­liage with shop­ping a crafts show in a set­ting sur­rounded by the beau­ti­ful Smoky Moun­tains.

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Sun­flower Sta­bles Barn Sale is Fri­day and Satur­day, Sept. 21-22, in the new Col­legedale Com­mons.

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