Photos and Story by Sergio Pacheco/Contributing Writer
Nashville’s Fairgrounds hosted their annual Christmas Village this past weekend. More than two-hundred merchants and thousands of shoppers from neighboring states attend every year.
The three-day event offered toys, clothing, jewelry, food, pottery, collectables and much more. For a $10 general admission ticket, attendees were free to walk around and browse through every merchant booth. A tall tree house and a swing underneath stood at the main entrance, where small children could go into and let their parents take a picture of them. The popular tree house was even a selling point itself: at the high cost of over $3,000.
Baxter Bailey & Company sold all custom Christmas dog sweaters, doggy treats, toys and more. They recently launched their website and will soon be selling many more pet-related things, in addition to merchandise for pet lovers such as mugs, picture frames and books just to name a few.
Jane Lee, president and CEO of Poke A Dot cosmetic organizer, another merchant at the event, said “I like to be organized and like to keep my things tidy, so when it came to my make-up, I found that there wasn’t a bag that could keep all my products in place or organized.”
Lee said she’s working with another company to target more than just people that use make-up. The cosmetic organizer can also be used to store toys, tools and cables for people who are always on the move from place to place.
Like Lee, many other merchants invited attendees to browse or even try their products. One merchant that had a large audience gathering was the Ultimate Wine Opener, which sucks corks out of wine bottles like magic. The demonstrator would first tightly screw the cork all the way in and then would proceed to show, with a few pumps of the ultimate wine opener, how the cork would pop out without making any mess.
In the middle of two merchants who sold Christmas decorations and clothing apparel stood a booth dedicated to only one thing: pens.
“It usually takes me about eight hours, but it also depends on what material I’m working with, like wood, animal horns or metal,” said Dale Penn, business co-owner and craftsman, when discussing the amount of time spent on crafting the items.
Dale has been making custom pens for over twenty years, ranging from exotics woods and animal horns, to circuit boards and bullets. Dale said, “I wouldn’t sell anything to people that made it difficult for them to refill the ink on their pens.”
Toward the last section of merchants was a booth filled with hand-drawn portraits of colleges and universities mostly in Tennessee.
“I’m 63-years-old and I’ve been doing this since I was little pretty much, but I do enjoy what I do. I take pictures of the building or buildings that I’m going to draw and then I go back to my studio where I begin the whole process,” said Joan Beaver, artist and entrepreneur.
Beaver also does graphics, commissions, and unique soft sculptures. Beaver said, “I was sitting at home and I found a pair of boots that somehow made me think of what a mountain man would wear and so that’s where I got my inspiration for the mountain man soft sculpture. Inspiration can come from everywhere really, but sometimes it takes time for you to find it.”
There was a food court for hungry merchants and attendees craving to try fried Oreos, fried okra and fried pickles. There were other food options like hot dogs, nachos and cheeseburgers for people who wanted a bigger meal.
Christmas Village has been around for almost sixty years and was started as a means of fundraising for the Bill Wilkerson Hearing and Speech Center, by members of the Nashville Pi Beta Phi Alumnae Club at Vanderbilt University.
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