The holiday season arrived in full force at the Spruce Pine Southern Christmas Show on Saturday, Nov. 28.
The festival, which was held from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Cross Street Commerce Center in Spruce Pine, was organized by Sherry Sautner in an effort to bring the holiday spirit to the community and help local vendors who have been struggling through the ongoing pandemic.
“One of the main reasons we decided to have this was to help the local vendors and small businesses in the area that have been struggling through COVID,” Sautner said. “I only had a month to plan this event and I think it has turned out pretty well.”
The show featured 40 vendors, including local restaurants and several dozen craft vendors selling Christmas items and beyond.
One vendor at the show was Mitchell County native Brittney King, who heard about the show through a fellow vendor. King decided it would be a great opportunity to give back to the community while sharing her crafts.
“I wanted to spend some time with the community and see some people because I haven’t been back here in a while,” said King, who now lives in Greenville, SC. “This brings advertisement to small businesses locally, which is really important to, especially in a town like Spruce Pine, where arts and crafts have always been important.”
King makes an array of macramé crafts ranging from plant hangers, decorative wall pieces and key chains.
In addition to crafts and food items, Santa Claus himself made an appearance taking photographs with young children and even local beauty pageant queens Miss Emerald Ridge Tessa Rabideau and Miss Emerald Ridge’s Outstanding Teen McKenna Harvey.
The festival drew people from across Western North Carolina, including Brenda and Carolyn Jones from Marion.
“It’s been fun so far and the food smelled good the minute we walked through the front door,” Brenda Jones said. “These kind of events are so important to give back to the community especially right now.”
To keep the festival as safe as possible, Sautner was personally taking people’s temperatures at the entrance, requested people wear a face covering if they were able, had hand sanitizer throughout the event and sanitized surfaces regularly.
“We wanted it to be well-executed because we didn’t want to have any trouble with anyone not feeling comfortable going inside,” Sautner said. “We wanted to make people feel as safe as possible.”
Also at the door was the Shriner’s Antique Truck along with a raffle and donation jar. Donations made at the door benefitted Shriner’s Hospitals for Children.
“Shriner’s does amazing work,” Sautner said. “Almost everybody involved with this festival has had Shriner’s touch their heart in some way or heal their family...COVID had wiped out so much their fundraising, which is very, very sad. People don’t stop having problems just because of COVID.”
Sautner said she is planning to make the show an annual event and hopes it will be even bigger next year.
“With the vaccine coming out soon hopefully, with our future plans, we feel very confident that the public will also feel confident to get out and visit a larger event next year,” she said. “We want to draw 10,000 to 20,000 people to Spruce Pine.”