Lawd, Lawd, what did I get myself into? Thanks to Donna Sanders and the mayor of Ripley, Jon Pavletic, I was appointed to the DEVCO Board about two years ago. However, my position as chair of the Promotions Committee is taking up too much of my time with minimal results. "What's that," you say? "You like to jump in and get busy, Sistah Girl, what's the deal?"
The Lauderdale County Council of the Arts and DEVCO hosted the Ripley Main Streets Arts and Crafts Festival on September 27, 2014. At least ten meetings were held with members of both organizations present. I can only recall three productive meetings.
Pessimism and skepticism pervaded the planning. Vendors slow to respond. You would think that the Arts Council would have a list of artists/craftsmen to contact. You would also think that they would be in the forefront contacting and ensuring that the leaders of Ripley's artistic society would participate. I hear the sniggers. Yes, Ripley has a "world-renowned" artist in its midst. As well as several others who exhibit on a regular basis.
The town threw a wrench into the planning by declaring that food vendors had to provide an insurance policy with city listed. Hold up, wait a minute. That's not required for the Chamber and its activities held on city property. What gives? Needless to say, at a cost of $750 a day, we didn't have any food vendors.
As we got closer to the date, we learned that every community around us would also have a major event on that day. AND, the Lauderdale Chamber of Commerce decided to hold the county fair that weekend, as well. We were up against some overwhelming competition.
Well, look at this! A big article appeared in the paper touting the local artists whose work would be on display for the opening of the new library in Covington. Among them were the "world renowned artist," Dolph Smith; Judge and Mrs. Walker; and the president of the arts council, Charles Taylor. GTFOH! In Covington. Tipton County. Not Ripley. Not Lauderdale County. Not their hometown. Not prestigious enough.
We did everything but beg the Walkers and Mr. Smith to participate. During all of those tedious meetings, not once did Mr. Taylor indicate that he would not participate. Sistah Girl was livid!!! I had prepared a letter to the editor...going to call them out by name. Fortunately, the good mayor, Jon Pavletic, talked me down. Can you tell that I'm still royally ticked?
The day dawned beautifully. Clear and not too hot. Canopies began springing up in their assigned spots. Wares were unpacked and put on display. Looking good. Even the Bank of Ripley opened to allow people to see their quilt exhibit. Where are the people? Taking in all the other events, naturally.
Bill Butner put his model Ford automobile on display and took people around for rides. He also brought his harp and played for a while. Mr. Butner has played for esteemed audiences around the world, I'm told.
Dan Irvin played his bagpipes. I think perfect posture is a requirement for this instrument. Angela Dew and her group also provided musical entertainment.
So what was there to buy, you ask? Pear preserves, canned tomatoes, chow-chow, hand-carved wooden bowls and utensils, hand-made soap, duck calls, art work, wreaths, floral arrangements, needlework, clothing, and more. Not bad for the first time out.
In the middle of the event, a funeral procession went through the Square. That, however, is another post.
Sincere thanks to those who participated. To those who wouldn't give of their artistic talents to support their hometown...Thank You For Your Support. Maybe you will see fit to do so in the future.
Be Safe. Be Blessed.