Diehards brave rain at festival

Published 12:00 am Saturday, September 23, 2000

A core of diehard festival fans braved rainshowers Saturday to browse crafts and sample homemade ice cream and other snacks at the 19th annual Copper Magnolia Festival.

&uot;I come here every year to enjoy the grounds, … and I’ve got to get some ice cream while I’m here,&uot; said Kaye Vestal of Natchez, heading to the ice cream tent with a friend.

The free festival was held this year, as it is every year, on the grounds of Historic Jefferson College in the Washington community.

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Historic papers have revealed that the college also used to be the site of crafts fairs in the 1830s and 1840s, said Anne Gray, historian at Historic Jefferson College and organizer of the festival.

&uot;It was a chance to display agricultural tools and the vegetables that had been grown, and to show off the quilting the ladies had done,&uot; Gray said.

The number of crafts booths at this year’s festival was about the same as last year, she added. In all, 20 craftspeople signed up to participate in this year’s festival.

Crafts, which were shielded from the rain by the vendor’s tents, included handcrafted wooden toys, suncatchers, Christmas decorations, ceramic bells and homemade jams and jellies.

Several crafts were given away in drawings for door prizes donated by craftspeople participating in the festival. New activities including a dunking booth and a cake walk.

Evalena and Herman King of Vidalia were some of the festivalgoers who sat in folding chairs and at benches under a magnolia tree until the rain subsided.

&uot;We’ve been here several times, ever since it started,&uot; Evalena King said. &uot;We like the music and like to look at the crafts. And it’s just such a beautiful setting, it just makes you feel relaxed.&uot;