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A crafty tradition
Beersheba Springs marks 48 years of craft festival
1 Girl eating corn
Eight-year-old Aspen King chows down on an ear of roasted corn as her mom, Dana, enjoys her lunch at the festival. - photo by Margaret Hobbs

The historic United Methodist Assembly grounds in Grundy County is a wonderful location for a craft show, as well as a ladies weekend get-away. The Beersheba Springs Arts and Craft Festival enjoyed its 48th year at the assembly site this past weekend with thousands of visitors partaking in the two-day event.
One unique group attending was the West End Lunch Bunch. The group graduated together in 1961 from West End High School in Nashville, and renewed their friendship seven years ago by starting to have lunch together. The last four years they have gathered at the assembly during the craft festival to partake in the festivities and enjoy their friendship.
“We have a blast coming up here each year,” said Nashville resident Ann Carter. “We talk, eat, nap, play cards and do a lot of laughing. We even sang around the piano last night.”
Saturday afternoon they all gathered around one of the large tables in the common area of the assembly for a card game called Skip Bo. Even though they visit other areas, Beersheba Springs is one of their favorite places to venture.
Member Carol Kraemer has roots at the assembly, as she first attended as an infant with her father, Carl Elkins, who was a Methodist minister in the ‘40s.
“My father was on the Methodist board of directors here, and I came with him for many years serving as a camper, counselor and even ran the camp some on the weekends,” said Kraemer. “I have many wonderful memories of this place.”
Others were their making new memories. First-time exhibiter Merry C. Adams shared her handcrafted silver jewelry, featuring all natural stones.
“I have been in business four years, but this is my first time to visit this beautiful area,” said Adams. “Everyone has been very pleasant to deal with, especially Bobby Thompson, and I certainly hope to come back.”
Chere Gillham’s Gemini Treats booth was a definite hit, with folks stopping by to sample her gourmet dips. The McCalla, Ala., resident sold the packaged treats so customers could make theirs at home to enjoy.
“I came last year, and it was so successful I decided to come back this year,” said Gillham.
Festival chairman Fran Holt was very pleased with the turnout and the quality of exhibitors.
“We are very, very happy,” said Holt. “Even though it is quite warm outside, everyone is still having a good time and drinking lots of cool drinks and eating ice cream.”
Proceeds from the festival go to benefit local charities in the community, including Beersheba Springs Library, Beersheba Springs Rescue Squad, Beersheba Springs Community Center, Grundy County Center for Exceptional Citizens, North Elementary School and food baskets.
Other fair board members joining Holt are Donald Boyd, Melissa Scruggs, Lonnie Whitman and Bobby Thompson. The festival is always held the fourth weekend in August on the assembly grounds.
With 160 exhibitors hailing from all across the Southern states, lovely and unique craft items, as well as assorted food displays, were enjoyed.