One of the signs of autumn in the Lakeway Area is the abundance of festivals and outdoor activities. Few festivals are as large and filled with spirit as Old Time Saturday in Jefferson City.
Crowds came early to the festival in its 28th year on Main Street in downtown to visit the more than 120 vendors that lined the street.
Many in the crowd wore their game day orange making for a mini Vol Walk appearance. The sounds of bluegrass and southern gospel music could be heard as soon as one entered the main festival drag.
Those sounds are exactly what Eddie Dulaney came to hear.
“I’m new to the area and heard about the festival on the radio. East Tennessee has such a great tradition for things like this so I’m glad I’m living in an area where I can be a part of it,” Dulaney said.
Also in the air was the aroma of tantalizing food options. Keeping with the theme of old timey, many vendors at the festival offered throwback country home cooking food options like soup beans, cornbread, fried catfish and barbecue along with traditional festival fares.
Judy Collins of New Market said the food was the reason she returns to the festival year after year.
“I probably should’ve worn my stretch pants ‘cause I could just come here and eat all day. Everyone has great food and most are for great causes,” Collins said.
Martha Wilson of Morristown walked the street with a smile on her face, carrying a recently purchased fall decorated wreath with Tennessee orange décor.
“I love the festival for all the crafts. I come year each year for new things to decorate my home with and to purchase gifts for others and for Christmas,” Wilson said.
Wilson stopped by Hattie Cotner’s tent filled with colorful themed blankets, pillows, scarves and accessories. Wilson eyeballed a Tennessee themed blanket she said would be perfect for her son who recently moved away but needed some orange in his home in Colorado.
While Wilson was shopping Batman (aka longtime community member and teacher, Frank Brown) sped by on a unicycle causing many do a double take on the street.
Also stopping traffic was the quick step dance moves of various clogging teams who performed throughout the day on the street.
While many groups advertised and promoted their cause at the festival, there was one that was simply glad to see the crowd, The Historic Mossy Creek District.
The district recently gained non-profit status and is the pioneer group for revitalization to the Jefferson City downtown area.
Carolyn Blevins, a supporter of the effort, said having activities like Old Time Saturday prove people are interested in the area.
“It shows people will come to downtown when they have something to come for,” Blevins said.
Blevins said the downtown area is being rebuilt piece by piece and acknowledged that signs of life are beginning to shine with another business opening soon in the area, “Tickle by Turquoise.”
The Mossy Creek District committee unveiled earlier in the summer plans for a downtown park and pavilion. The organization is currently applying for grants to help make those plans a reality.
If Old Time Saturday represents anything it’s pride in community said Cheryl Vincent. “This has Jefferson County all over it.”
- By Chris Phipps, Tribune Staff Writer