With the official start to winter right around the corner, the Bartlett Area Chamber of Commerce (BACC) hosted a colder-than-expected Christmas in Bartlett Market and Festivities at the A. Keith McDonald Pavilion at W.J. Freeman Park on Saturday.
The event, which was held in cooperation with the City of Bartlett and the Bartlett Station Commission, was canceled on Friday due to chance of bad weather, and Saturday there was definite nip to the air.
Bartlett Mayor A. Keith McDonald cut the ribbon to kick off the event early Saturday morning.
“I’m glad we were able to do the event. The weather is not what we wanted it to be, but look how blessed we are compared to other places,” McDonald said referring the deadly storms that struck Arkansas, Kentucky, Illinois, Missouri and Tennessee the night before. “It’s a tragic day for a lot of people, and we’re really blessed to have what we have today.”
More than 30 local vendors were on hand with a wide range of gift possibilities and great food.
Retired Bartlett High School shop teacher Smitty Wiley had his scroll saw onsite at his booth for Wiley’s Woodies, which showcased various woodworked items he and artisan Tony Capodiferro created including puzzles and portraits.
“It’s the creativity. It doesn’t matter how much money you make. It’s the therapy and having something to do,” said Wiley on why he enjoys woodworking. “I got into the craft business because I would do shows with what we made at the school, and the money would go back into the program. So I thought, ‘Why not also have my own table.’ ”
ButterCream Bakery owner Anna Leatherwood offered a variety of her “old-fashioned, elevated” holiday favorites for sale, like mini loaves of gingerbread and fruitcake, egg nog cookies, white chocolate peppermint bark and Christmas Jam.
“It’s very wintery and windy out here today, but at least there’s sunshine,” she said.
Her shop at 5788 Stage Road in Bartlett just celebrated its third anniversary.
Cristine Thomas brought out her homemade gourmet fudge sauce varieties. Under her Cristine’s Creations banner, she launched OMG in a Jar earlier this year and began selling at a various Farmer’s Markets and through social media.
“I’ve made it for thirty-something years at home. I had given it as gifts, and people told me I should start selling it,” Thomas said. “They’re great on just about anything you can think of — stir it in your coffee, dip your pretzel in it, bake with it, put it over any dessert or pancakes. Straight out of the jar is my favorite way to eat it.”
Thirteen flavors include salted caramel, orange chocolate, butterscotch, cinnamon, pumpkin spice, espresso, peanut butter, coconut and more.
Event attendees were able to shop for everything from Crooked Shack’s extreme wax melts, The Tea Bar’s local honey and Marla’s Garden’s fresh veggies to Kandikakes and More’s Red Velvet Brownies and Pink Magnoli Cookie Co.’s colorful holiday-themed cookies.
The festivities featured holiday music from the Bon Lin Elementary Choir and Ukelele Club and Oak Elementary’s Music Club, as well as Bon Lin Middle and Bartlett High’s jazz clubs, the IKENGA drum corps from Youth Villages, and jazz vocalist Christopher Donovan accompanied by Rene Koopman.
“We’re so thankful to the community for coming out and making this event happen,” BACC assistant event coordinator Skye Fowler said.
A highlight of the day was Santa arriving on his specially modified Harley-Davidson Christmas motorcycle accompanied by Mrs. Claus. Kids were able to meet with Clauses, or mail their letters to Santa if they preferred, and complete a scavenger hunt to win gifts.
The Bartlett chamber also just wrapped up its annual work with Youth Villages on the Holiday Heroes initiative.
“We ended up sponsoring 83 children,” BACC Director of Operations Kathy Carl said. “Every child was adopted by one of our chamber members, and the Bartlett Police Charitable Foundation sponsored the stockings.”
Holiday parties will be held for the Youth Villages kids next week.