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Arts and Crafts Fair marks 50th year with first outdoor show
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Lakelyn Manus, left, and Lilly Mae Oaks find one of the wooden toys at Garry Tanner’s booth engaging.

The Warren County Arts and Crafts Fair celebrated its 50th year with a first over the weekend. The two-day event was held outdoors for the first time in its storied history with the fairgrounds selected as the venue.

“We’ve had two hot days and I think the heat has kept some people away,” said vendor Phyllis Seaborn about an hour before closing on Saturday. “But even with the lighter crowds we’ve sold as much as we did last year at the Civic Center and that’s without hours on Thursday night.”

Several vendors noted that crowds were strong in the morning and late afternoon, but the midday heat was not conducive to attract shoppers.

Kermit Stiles said he thought attendance was lower than last year, but he said the people who did come brought their wallets.

“I sold all my big pieces so I’m happy about that,” said Stiles.

Especially popular in the Stiles booth were vertical, front-porch signs that say, “Welcome.”

“They’re nice because I make them out of real barn wood and I sold all six of them,” said Stiles.

Garry Tanner made the short trip from Woodbury with his wooden toys, birdfeeders and decorative baskets.

“You never know what’s going to sell,” said Tanner. “This show I sold five birdfeeders.”

Tullahoma vendor Sherian Oakley says this is the one and only craft fair she does each year. She sells her decorative work online through Etsy and says she’s shipped to every state but three.

“I like the move outdoors and I think it would have really added to the fall feel if it hadn’t been so hot,” said Oakley. “I do this show out of tradition. Growing up, I was a daddy’s girl and I came every year with my dad back when we lived in Sparta. When I moved to Tullahoma, we’d meet here, but we’d still come together every year.”

With Civic Center expansion expected to last up to two years, the show might need to find a new site again next year. Homeland Community Bank marketing director Cindy Rogers said that’s a decision which will be made next year.

“The fairgrounds was very accommodating and fulfilled all of our needs,” said Rogers. “I think we’re going to wait until spring, see where they’re at with the Civic Center and make a call from there.”