I started the morning at Berry College’s Spring Craft Fair, so when I arrived at the Civic Center for the Spring Art Market on April 1. I figured it would be more or less the same. But I remembered this one axiom (of many) of community events in Rome: No two events are more or less the same.
For one thing, the Spring Art Market was two days long; and a person needs both to see everything going on. Second of all, I found a fountain troll for purchase that was weeping over what we are doing to the environment. The money used to pay for it will go to charity. Thirdly, there were ponies to keep the kids attention while parents can scope out the goods.
This isn’t all that was unique about the festival, there was more. So much more I had to get a tropical shaved Kona Ice snow cone being sold there to keep me going half way through. The entire event was a crochet farm animal blur with a tangy aftertaste.
As previously mentioned there was a lot going on. I stumbled upon Mike Ragland, local writer and former law enforcement official, who recently wrote a book about the infamus trial and story of Bertha Hill. Bertha was a local serial killer who worked in the second floor shop of a dime store off Broad Street in Rome around 1940s. According to Mr. Ragland she was also a frequent visitor of the apartment building I live in downtown. Although our paths are half a century apart it was eerie confirming the connection of my apartment and Rome’s strange past as it is described in his book.
The weeping fountain troll for charity was only the second neatest thing at the Spring Art Market. The Gypsy Mountain Appalachian style painted bottles was the first. Their exclusive pet portrait service was new to me, and I’m now considering having Mr. J. (my cat) drawn psychedelically.
Animals were set up all around the Civic Center, which is just off Turner McCall in the same parking lot as the Rome – Floyd Visitor’s Center. They must have bused them in because I saw two small horses, the same amount of white lambs, rabbits, cows, and bees with their honey. All except the bees were available for petting.
While these animals entertained me for awhile, the children of the festival were more than content interacting with them as the adults got the check out all the booths available. BBQ, cajun food, salsa, desserts, jams, and jellies completed the fair-like experience and I didn’t see anyone dissatisfied.
For the first year, this Art Market was a wonderful festival of arts – I’ll make sure to put this art market at the top of my list next year.