Festival fun at the Fort

By Adam Prestridge

The Lowndes Signal

Despite low attendance last Sunday for the final day of the 48th annual Calico Fort Arts & Crafts Fair in Fort Deposit, organizers consider this year’s event a success following a large crowd Saturday.

Frieda Cross, president of the Fort Deposit Arts Council, said the festival not only faced powerful thunderstorms the night between the two-day festival, but also several competing events including the University of Alabama and Auburn University’s spring football games.

“Saturday went very well,” she said. “Sunday was not good because a lot of the exhibitors left and then the visitors didn’t come. Overall, the attendance was not as well as it was last year, but there were too many things scheduled for those same days.”

The judge for the $2,500 in prize money and ribbons that were awarded Saturday was Connie Deal, high school art teacher at Montgomery Academy. The prize funds are made available through a grant from the Lowndes County Commission each year.

Best of Show was awarded to Kendra Bennett of Daphne for her booth, Paper Cuts. She took home $800 and the coveted purple ribbon.

In the Art Category, Charles Adams of Troy took home first-place honors and a check for $500 for his stained-glass booth. Second place and $300 was awarded to Jayne Vincent of Sterrett for Unique Wearable Art. Brantley’s Mike Davis’ pottery won him third place and $100.

Roger and Sally Levell of Foley won first place and $500 in the Craft Category for their Handmade Wooden Musical Instruments. Second place was awarded to blacksmith Richard Atkins of Tallassee, while Tommy Gamble of Letohatchee claimed third for his hand-turned wooden bowls. In addition to ribbons, Atkins and Gamble won $300 and $100, respectively.

Besides arts and crafts booths for the parents, youngsters enjoyed several inflatables, bumper boats, bungee jumping, a mechanical bull and the Wipe Out course in the children’s area. A variety of entertainers from musicians to cloggers performed on the event stage throughout the day.

Calico Fort began as a dream by a group of Fort Deposit citizens that desired to promote our small town, to create an interest, which would draw visitors and develop an outstanding arts and crafts festival. A number of possible themes were considered, but considering the towns historical background, Calico Fort was selected.

One of the local citizens volunteered the use of a pine thicket on her property for the show. And the work began, everyone was invited to help clear the brier bushes, the kudzu vines, limbs, pine cones and debris. A fence, reminiscent of an old fort and an Indian teepee were constructed, along with an assortment of rustic buildings to be used for the food concessions and even some exhibitors.

Plans for next year’s 49th edition of the two-day festival are already in the works. According to Cross, the event will be held
April 18-19 in 2020.

“We normally hold Calico the second full weekend in April, but next year Easter is going to be the second weekend, so we are moving it up to the third weekend,” Cross concluded. 

Proceeds from the annual Calico Fort Arts & Crafts Fair  benefit community projects.