Coun­try Christ­mas

Rome News-Tribune - - FRONT PAGE - By John Popham [email protected]

De­spite the dis­mal weather that dropped about 2 inches of rain on Floyd County, Cave Spring’s Small Town Christ­mas in the Coun­try car­ried on with 80 ven­dors present on its first day and visitors from all over at­tend­ing.

Weather prob­lems are a risk for out­door events such as this, how­ever there was a steady flow of peo­ple drop­ping by, said Susan Childers, who or­ga­nizes the event. She added that the peo­ple ven­tur­ing out to Ro­later Park weren’t just lo­cals; some had trav­eled from Car­roll­ton, Dal­las, Cartersville, Ma­ri­etta, Alabama and Ten­nessee.

“You’ll be sur­prised how far peo­ple travel,” she said.

Cus­tomers weren’t the only ones who trav­eled. Ven­dors at Christ­mas in the Coun­try came from out of town as well. High­lander Forge, two Ten­nessee black­smiths with Scot­tish her­itage, were there ham­mer­ing out mer­chan­dise and plac­ing it on their ta­bles. You Could but Would You, a booth from Pied­mont, Alabama, had two tents full of Christ­mas dé­cor. Their name is a hu­mor­ous poke at the peo­ple who come to craft shows and audi­bly say they could just make the crafts at home.

Lo­cal ven­dors also turned out. Kara’s Can­vases, lo­cal au­thor Mike Ragland, South­ernly Sweet Crafts, the Cave Spring Dis­tillery and lo­cally made canned goods all had booths.

With th­ese lo­cal ven­dors were teach­ers at Pep­perell El­e­men­tary who were sell­ing art­work made by their autis­tic stu­dents.

Rachel Hall, who teaches third through fifth grades, said the money made from sell­ing the stu­dents’ art goes to pay for school sup­plies, a snack store and — most im­por­tantly — field trips.

“Last year this paid for all but one of our field trips,” she said. “We go on two a month, and last year only had to ask par­ents to give money for one field trip.”

The snack store is an­other pro­ject the teach­ers use to help ed­u­cate the kids. Hall said the teach­ers buy the snacks and set up a store for the stu­dents to buy snacks us­ing fake money, giv­ing them real world ex­pe­ri­ence.

Childers said there were 50 ven­dors in­side the Hearn Academy build­ing, with 30 in the up­stairs ar­eas alone. Most were sup­posed to be out­side, with the up­stairs por­tion of the build­ing to be left alone, she said. How­ever with the rain soak­ing Ro­later Park, those who had more frag­ile art were moved in­side while some chose to stick it out in the rain.

“There will be more ven­dors to­mor­row,” she added.

The 15th an­nual Small Town Christ­mas in the Coun­try will con­tinue at Ro­later Park to­day with a forecast of sunny weather and a high tem­per­a­ture in the low 70s, ac­cord­ing to the Na­tional Weather Ser­vice. Guests are also en­cour­aged to visit down­town shops while in town as well as the cabin on the square. Food ven­dors will also be on hand, and Santa Claus will be in the cave to­day and will be avail­able for pic­tures.

Small Town Christ­mas in the Coun­try will be in Ro­later Park from noon-4 p.m. to­day with ven­dors ex­pected to give dis­counts in the fi­nal two hours.

/ John Popham

Hugh Bowie (left) and Jeff Claw­son, two Ten­nessee men with Scot­tish her­itage, work metal into spat­u­las and pot hold­ers at their black­smith booth on Satur­day. This is the third time the two have come to Cave Spring’s Small Town Christ­mas in the Coun­try.

/ John Popham

Rachel Hall (right), a teacher at Pep­perell El­e­men­tary, shows Tina Black art made by her autis­tic stu­dents. The money made from their art funds her classes’ field trips and school sup­plies.

/ John Popham

Canned goods like th­ese are avail­able to sam­ple and buy in­side the Hearn Academy build­ing in Ro­later Park. Christ­mas in the Coun­try will con­tinue this af­ter­noon from noon un­til 4 p.m.

/ John Popham

Dreary weather doesn’t stop peo­ple at­tend­ing or set­ting up booths for Satur­day’s Christ­mas in the Coun­try.

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