Despite the oppressive heat and humidity most of the country has been experiencing this summer, Johnson Countians came out in large numbers to attend the yearly summer attraction on Main Street. Armed with sun hats, bottled water and plenty of opportunities for cold drinks and ice cream treats, local folks and visitors alike spent a delightful day enjoying the varied local artistic talents at this years Sunflower Festival.
Up and down Main Street and rounding the corner onto Church Street, vendors offered wares, food and unique gifts. Johnson County is home to many talented people, and it was evident by the large selection of specialty items. Customers perused the many booths, looking for the return of their favorite vendors, while eagerly exploring the talents of those who were new. Some hopeful candidates, vying for those last-minute undecided voters, mingled among the crowd.
At every turn, there was something new to see or new foods to taste. Shoppers could find scrap booking materials, old records, quilted purses and wooden furniture. Clem Park of Swings by Clem rested on one of his handmade swings for most of the day, trying to beat the intense heat and stay cool. There were day lilies, floral arrangements, crocheted items and hand-carved walking sticks. There were homemade jellies, jams, corn relish and chow chow.
Once again, the Young at Heart square dancers had the crowd clapping and cheering as they turned, spun and danced to the calls of swing your partner. Their hard work and talents were evident as they didnt miss a beat. Actors and actresses who are working hard to prepare for the play, Maggie Flynn, gave a sneak peek of what is to come when the Johnson County Community Theatre debuts their performance of this musical the last weekend in July. Many people seemed to enjoy the collection of antique cars and trucks, along with a 1974 Mini-Cooper, that members of The Cruise-Ins had on hand in the Food Country parking lot.
Wes Patterson was back again at this years Sunflower Festival with his collection of Rainbow Rocks. These are ionic crystals from the Caribbean that are colored and then scented. The crystals absorb smoke and other household odors. This is the third year that Patterson has set up a booth in Mountain City. Its always been a good show, Patterson said.
For the past 12 years, Patsy Blackwell has specialized in making dog clothing, including dresses and hair bows. Clothes can be custom made for dogs from two pounds all the way up to 200 pounds. Forest Blevins from Shady Valley has been woodworking for approximately 25 years. He has beautiful bird feeders, bird houses and stackable wine racks. He also makes hope chests that serve as blanket chests. His work is meticulous and detailed.
Doris and Larry Musick were on hand with books written by authors that live in our region of the country. Many of the stories are set in North Carolina, Tennessee, Kentucky and Virginia. The Musicks offer encouragement for local writers in their writing pursuits. Tony and Betty Parchman offer beautiful handcrafted wooden items. It is a joint effort as Tony cuts out the wood and Betty paints each of the items. Their wooden butterflies were offered in an array of brilliant colors. Mary Hawkins and Daisy Everett, two sisters who own MarDas Originals, were back again at the Sunflower Festival with their unique and beautiful cigar box purses. With designs of every kind, Elvis seems to be an all-time favorite.
If you came to the festival hungry, there was a large variety of foods to tempt your palate. Stephen Springer of Laurel Bloomery was available with scrumptious food items coming from the Mexicali Blue Cantina. They tout their food as Tex-Mex food with a Rebel Attitude. All day long, delicious smells that made your mouth water wafted from their stand. The Positive Thinkers offered hot dogs and polish sausage, complete with grilled onions and peppers. There was popcorn, lemonade and ice cream floats and treats. Ted Gentry, also known as Big Daddy, was set up again this year grilling chicken, bringing back many customers from previous festivals.
Each year, the local quilt guild, Tennessee Sunrise Quilt Guild, makes a quilt for a local charity. This year, the Positive Thinkers were the recipients of this king-sized quilt. According to Karen Bell, the decision is made as to which applicant will receive a quilt from the local quilt guild in January. Should your organization be interested in receiving one of these quilts, the request must be submitted by January. It takes approximately three months for one of these handcrafted quilts to be created. Contact Kathy Terrell at 727-9320 should you want further information. The group consists of approximately 40 members and meets once a month for a business meeting, sometimes a class and often show and tell time. Within the guild are three separate groups that meet on different days once a week. This year, there were approximately 121 quilted items in the Quilt Show held across the street from the festival at the First United Methodist Church. The quilters span a wide range in age from 15 up to 90 years old.
Throughout the day, the crowd was entertained by a variety of musicians and various types of music. There were approximately 41 girls that participated in the Sunflower beauty pageant. The ages ranged from toddler to teen. Although not everyone could win, the girls all received participation trophies.
For complete details please pick up your copy of this weeks, The Tomahawk, available at local newsstands today