Handcrafts and history will combine Friday and Saturday, April 29-30, at the Cades Cove Museum / Historic Thompson-Brown House in Maryville as the Cades Cove Preservation Association hosts its first Mini Craft Fair. The event will take place from 10 am to 4 pm each day on the museum grounds, 1004 E. Lamar Alexander Parkway, Maryville, near the Blount County Justice Center and Blount Memorial Hospital.
Gloria Motter, director of the Cades Cove Museum, said 26 local vendors will be on hand offering a wide variety of handmade products. In addition, food will be available for purchase, and the Cades Cove Museum will be open. Admission is free for both the Mini Craft Fair and the museum, which houses an extensive collection of artifacts from Cades Cove. No taxes will be charged during the two days.
Something for everyone
The idea of hosting a mini craft fair came about after learning that the annual Spring Heritage Festival in Townsend, in which CCPA participated, would no longer be held.
“I had a couple of vendors who had set up near us who were upset because of that, and they came to me and said, ‘You’ve got all that room, why not have a little craft fair on the museum grounds?’ ”Motter said. The result is the Mini Craft Fair, an event CCPA plans to hold annually. Vendor fees will go directly into the fund set up for repairs, stabilization and upkeep of the museum’s home in the Thompson-Brown House.
Vendors will have crocheted and quilted items, pottery, jewelry, ceramics, woodcarving, T-shirts, pet clothing for dogs and cats, sweet treats, string art, furniture and more, along with a demonstration of cane chair bottom repairs. A complete list of vendors and merchandise can be found on the Cades Cove Preservation Association Facebook page.
Several local authors will be signing and selling books, including romance author Lin Stepp who also has authored, with her husband JL Stepp, “The Afternoon Hiker,” “Discovering Tennessee State Parks” and “Exploring South Carolina State Parks;” Bernard Myers, “A Kid in Cades Cove;” Dorothy Gregory Sutton, “Cades Cove Teachers & Schools;” Stanford Johnson, “Our Little Secret,” set in Tuckaleechee Cove and tentatively, Nancy McEntee, “Molsey Blount: The Colonial First Lady of Tennessee,” “When Do You Let the Bears Out” and others.
CCPA’s perpetual yard sale to raise funds for the group’s building repair and maintenance fund will be open again, as well. Many gently used items at all prices, from furniture to jewelry, paintings, glassware and books on Blount County and East Tennessee history are available at reasonable prices.
CCPA Public Relations Officer Jim Motter will be cooking sloppy joes and hot dogs on Friday and hamburgers and hot dogs on Saturday. Cost for a meal, which includes chips and soft drink, will be $ 12. Meals will be served from 11 am until the food runs out.
A very special item will be available for raffle: one of the beehives once used in Cades Cove by its last permanent resident, the late Kermit Caughron, who lived in Cades Cove under a lifetime lease with the National Park Service until his death in 1999. Gloria Motter said his daughter, Ruth Caughron Davis and her daughter-in-law, Melinda Davis, are providing the beehive for the raffle.
“I think what I will do is start the raffle for that item on the 29th and sell tickets until the fall festival or homecoming,” she said. “That is a huge piece of Cades Cove history.”
Funds raised from vendor fees, perpetual yard sale, food sales and donations will be used to continue much-needed repairs on the Thompson-Brown House, believed to have been constructed in the first quarter of the 19th century by William Thompson. The Rev. William Beard Brown purchased the home in 1867. Blount County now owns the historic property and leases it to the nonprofit Cades Cove Preservation Association with an agreement allowing CCPA to fund vital repairs to preserve and protect the house, which is on the National Register of Historic Places. Repairs meet guidelines from the National Register and must be approved by Blount County Mayor Ed Mitchell.
The first step of CCPA’s five-year restoration plan was to install a metal roof to replace the rotting cedar shakes. This was completed in 2021 by Heartland Roofing. Most recently, new windows by Renewal by Andersen, custom built to resemble the original windows and with a filter to protect the museum artifacts from damage from sunlight, have been installed as well as vinyl siding on each end of the house to replace the rotting logs and missing chinking.
“The windows make a huge difference,” Motter said. “They insulated all the way around the frame. Heartland that did the roofing came and plugged the bad chinking on the ends, insulated it and put up the vinyl siding. I picked it to sort of match the logs. It’s wonderful. ”
Future plans will address the heat and air system plus repairs to the upstairs portion of the house, used as CCPA offices.
Motter invites the community to stop by Friday and Saturday to see what’s been accomplished thus far while supporting local vendors.
“This is to help the local crafters, plus to raise awareness of the Cades Cove Museum,” she said. “We’ll have a little bit of everything! It’s free to the public, and if anybody has a guitar and they want to find a place to sit and pick the guitar, they sure can.
“This is going to be fun for people to come by and not have to fight a huge crowd.”