Craft lovers celebrate Calico Fort’s 42nd year
Published 2:01 pm Thursday, April 18, 2013
By Fred Guarino
The Lowndes Signal
Despite a downpour of rain on Sunday, people from all over enjoyed the 42nd annual Calico Fort Arts and Crafts Fair held in Fort Deposit this past weekend.
“Saturday was fantastic… the weather, the people, everything,” Frieda Cross, president of the Fort Deposit Arts Council said. “We could not ask for a better day.”
Sunday was a different story, however.
“We had a continuous downpour. The exhibitors could not function, the visitors could not come,” Cross said. “This was the first time in several years we’ve had this to happen.”
That said, Saturday proved a beautiful day for folks to wander the fort grounds to see arts and crafts, enjoy entertainment and good food while their children enjoyed a petting zoo and other fun things to do.
This year’s event featured more than 125 exhibitors from 10 states including Wisconsin, Tennessee, Mississippi, New York, the Carolinas, Georgia, Florida, Louisiana, Indiana and all parts of Alabama.
The Fort Deposit Arts Council sponsors Calico Fort, and the event affords a number of schools, churches and community organizations the opportunity to raise funds for their individual projects through an assortment of food booths.
“We put this money into the general fund,” James Chambliss of the Fort Deposit Arts Council Board of Directors said of food sales from that organization. “We try to give two scholarships a year and spend money on the grounds of the fort and if the city needs something… we’ve bought a police car, fire truck, ambulance…”
Lowndes County Commissioner Joseph Barganier of Fort Deposit was among those on hand Saturday along with his grandson.
“Calico Fort is one of the things in Fort Deposit that has put a lot of money into the community over the years,” Barganier said. “It’s something we want to keep going and help them out all we can.”
This year the Lowndes County Commission appropriated $2,500 for the Calico Fort Arts & Crafts Fair.
“The fairgoers will be enchanted with the variety of handmade arts and crafts and the many artists in all mediums,” Cross predicted prior to the event.
Her words proved correct as she said one exhibitor had a customer who returned on Sunday to purchase more than $150 worth of his items.
Among local arts and crafts exhibitors on hand Saturday was Jim Farrior of Montgomery, who has a farm in Letohatchee and showed off his Pine Lighter Art.
He said he had been out bush hogging one day when he found an old lighter tree that was about 30 feet long in the woods.
“And so I was cutting it up to take it back to chop it up and use it for kindling,” Farrior said. However, the beauty of the wood caught his eye.
“So I started with a sliding miter saw, cutting and shaving and pieces and images all of a sudden started coming out, like this is a bird, a flame, another bird over there and cat eyes,” he said.
Farrior said he decided to save the wood for use as art.
One of his art examples was barbed wire made into a cross against a stump of the pine lighter wood.
Back again this year was the amateur radio, W4C Special Events Station manned by the Jim Bell Wireless Association.
It is an amateur radio club supporting amateur radio operators (Hams) in Butler County and Lowndes County and the surrounding area in Alabama.
The station was set up to demonstrate how radio amateurs help in times of severe weather.