Rain doesn’t stop Chi­aha

Clear, cool weather ex­pected for fes­ti­val to­day

Rome News-Tribune - - FRONT PAGE - By Doug Walker As­so­ciate Editor DWalker@RN-T.com

Rain held crowds down some­what at the out­set of the 53rd edition of the Chi­aha Har­vest Fair on Satur­day, but long­time vol­un­teer Buzz Wach­steter said all that did was give cus­tomers a lit­tle more time to spend with their fa­vorite ar­ti­sans. “Liq­uid sunshine never hurts, but you can still find the great art and they’re not as busy, so it’s even bet­ter for avid shop­pers,” Wach­steter said.

Sandy Thomas from Cape Co­ral, Florida, vis­ited Chi­aha for the first time last year and made sure she timed her visit this fall to co­in­cide with Chi­aha.

She was bun­dled up in a wa­ter­proof parka and said the cool tem­per­a­ture and light rain wasn’t both­er­ing her at all as she and cousin Gail Thomas wan­dered from booth to booth.

Janet By­ing­ton, an­other long­time Chi­aha vol­un­teer, said that the weather for to­day looks great for the fair, which raises

funds each year to ben­e­fit the lo­cal arts com­mu­nity, in­clud­ing schol­ar­ships

and sup­port for art pro­grams in the lo­cal schools.

Ad­mis­sion to Chi­aha Har­vest Fair, open Sun­day from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. is $5 for adults, $4 for stu­dents and se­niors, and $1 for chil­dren un­der 12. There is no charge for park­ing at Ridge Ferry Park for the event.

Wach­steter, who has been a vol­un­teer with Chi­aha for more than 30 years, said it was a com­bi­na­tion of fac­tors that makes Chi­aha one of the most pop­u­lar arts and crafts shows in the South­east. “It’s the peo­ple, the artists, the weather — be­cause you never know what it’s go­ing to be — the hot cider and the ca­ma­raderie,” Wach­steter said.

Rome wood­carver Wil­liam Mann took ad­van­tage of a light rain to do some carv­ing un­der his tent.

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“I do a lot of hand­carved wooden uten­sils, spoons, cut­ting boards, la­dles, wooden puz­zles in the shape of an­i­mals,” Mann said. I take live edge wood and make lamps.”

Mann said Chi­aha was his very first show and now he does it ev­ery year. “I do other ones ran­domly based on how busy I am,” Mann said. He said Chi­aha was usu­ally one of his more suc­cess­ful sales events each year as well.

Shan­non pot­ter Shelby West has been a part of the Chi­aha Har­vest Fair for 12 years and has man­aged to stake the same booth site ev­ery year. “I have a lot of re­peat peo­ple and they know I’m lo­cal. Hav­ing this ex­act same spot helps out a lit­tle bit,” West said.

Doug Walker / Rome News-Tri­bune

Shelby West, a pot­ter from Shan­non, has oc­cu­pied the same booth space at the Chi­aha Har­vest Fair for years.

Doug Walker / Rome News-Tri­bune

Wood carver Wil­liam Mann of Rome works on some of his hand-carved items un­der his tent Satur­day in Ridge Ferry Park.

Doug Walker / RN-T

Ken Pharoah looks at some of Lynette Phillips’ pot­tery.

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