Artists, craftsmen, authors, poets and even musicians are participating in the two-day festival. It seemed Mother Nature was also in attendance with a lowering of the early morning temperature as a reminder that fall has arrived. Even some colorful leaves were fluttering around the courthouse.
The festival was founded a year ago by Cheryl Maxwell, chair of the event’s board of directors. It is hoped the event will expand in future years.
One of the major events is a display of quilts in the third-floor courtroom at the courthouse. These are creations made by artisans from the foothill communities surrounding Polk County.
Betty Fox of Etowah had two quilts on display at the courthouse. She retired recently from a manufacturing plant in Riceville. She said she doesn’t do the quilting, only the piece-making. “My hands are not able to do the quilting, because of working at the plant,” she said.
Another person who stayed busy through the day Saturday was Marian Bailey Presswood, Polk County historian and archivist. She is president of the Polk County Historical Society, and was busy signing up a number of visitors for genealogy studies.
Charlotte Aldridge of Shiloh Baptist Church was at Saturday’s celebration, helping with a vending booth by the church. She was accompanied by her Great Pyrenees “Hooch,” who was by far the largest animal at the festival.
A couple of other canines were in attendance, and there was a pet adoption booth.
Lt. Commander Ricky Lankford and Preston Parker were manning a booth sponsored by Sons of Confederate Veterans Camp No. 2089 in Etowah. They were displaying and selling Civil War memorabilia.
Alix Belcher and Debbie Brock brought their work to the festival. The two own and operate “Little Clothes and Bows” and do custom sewing, smocking and hair bows for children. They set up a working area at the festival.
Saturday’s event began at 10 a.m. and featured country and rock music and musicians throughout the day.
Singers and musicians Saturday included Silvia Holiday, a singer and songwriter; the band Just Us from Englewood; a steel string session; Reliance; and Tim Ledford and Kimsey Mountain Highway.
Gospel music fans are in for a treat Sunday with music from 1 p.m. to 7 p.m.
Saturday’s event was highlighted by a Halloween costume parade at 5 p.m., following storytelling by Judy Baker at the Polk County library earlier in the day.
Also on display downtown was a watercolor demonstration by Marie Spaeder, and a reception for artist/quilter Lora Creasman in the offices of the Polk County News.
In addition to the gospel music Sunday, there will be a celebration of the Life of poet George Scarbrough in the courthouse’s small courtroom at 2:30 p.m.
There are a number of arts, crafts and food vendors, bouncy houses with kids games and pumpkin decorating.
n As visitors are leaving Benton and returning to Cleveland and Bradley County over the recently completed four lanes of U.S. 411 Highway, there is a tractor and Volkswagen show at the Benton IGA on the south side of town.