Organizers of the recent Beersheba Springs Arts and Crafts Festival have deemed the 49th event as a huge success, with bigger plans on the horizon for the 50th celebration next year.
As with most craft festivals, there have been ups and downs over the years, but the Beersheba Springs event seems to be a crowd pleaser. Both vendors and visitors alike are drawn to the mountain setting, steeped in history.
The festival takes place on the Beersheba Springs United Methodist Assembly grounds, with the resort hotel build in 1857. Named after the local chalybeate (iron water) springs, the hotel was favored by patrons from the Deep South. Many were trying to escape the extreme summer heat as well as the yellow fever epidemic. The Tennessee Methodist Conference purchased the buildings and grounds in 1941, and have been restoring and overseeing new construction projects since.
Over 150 craft and food and beverage vendors were on site this year, much to the pleasure of the organizers. Several food vendors were set up, providing delicious meals and snacks for every appetite. Full meals are also served in the assembly dining hall, featuring breakfast and home-style lunch and dinner.
“It is a huge success,” said board member Bobby Thompson. “The weather is perfect, and we are gearing up for a big 50th year celebration.”
Thompson offered that statement on Saturday afternoon, following a full day of sunshine and cool breezes, but Sunday was a different story, as the morning started off with steady summer rains, followed by warm afternoon sun.
Several new exhibitors joined the mix this year, with one drawing a lot of interest. A.J. Harris, owner and artist with Glass Cannon Studio came over from Chattanooga displaying his custom-made glass items.
Harris is a flame/torch worker, crafting items from glass rods, which he heats up with a torch and manipulates into various items, sometimes adding color into the mix. His booth featured various pendants, ink pens, rings vases of all sizes, hanging hummingbird feeders and marbles of all sizes and colors.
“I really enjoy creating, with marbles probably being my favorite thing to do, but also enjoy the miniature vases and creating other small things,” said Harris. He was working on site, with lots of folks stopping by to watch and ask questions about the craft.
Little Light Designs was also a new exhibitor, with business partners Gloria Smith and Jenni Mills working tirelessly to accommodate their customers. Their booth was filled with wooden monogramed items in various sizes and designs.
“Everyone has been so sweet, kind and friendly up here,” said Smith. “We go to lots of other fairs, but we will definitely come back here.”
Thompson stresses the show is always held the fourth full weekend of August, with next years’ golden celebration set for Aug. 27-28. For information concerning the festival, contact publicity chairman Fran Holt at 931-692-3733.