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Festival on the Green draws thousands

For a few thousand other visitors, last weekend’s Festival on the Green was just another in a series of annual community outings at which Farragut residents and their guests gathered to have a good time and get springtime off to a good start.

Weather cooperated better Friday through Sunday, April 28-30, than it had the previous year, and festival vendors said they fared better, just with Saturday morning sales, than they had during the entire blustery, rain-drenched 2005 event.

But for a few who attended the 2006 Dogwood Arts Festival-sanctioned event, sponsored by WFIV 105.3 and Village Green shopping center merchants, the festival was much more than an outing.

It was a “gig.”

For Saturday’s festival, the opener was Crash Course, a year-old, local rock band of ambitious young musicians who want their name up in lights.

And such gigs are tough to come by, when your group is just breaking in.

The six-member band opened, just after noon, with crowd-pleaser “Sweet Home Alabama” while festival visitors began circulating among the arts and crafts tents and past an array of food vendors. Food stands offered everything from barbecue and chocolate-dipped bananas to lemonade and Oriental delicacies from Gohan-Ya Japanese Kitchen.

A cavalcade of kids, such as Mayun Jagadish, 10, tested their mettle on “The Rock,” a “mountain climbing challenge” better known as a climbing wall.

Mayun, under the watchful eye of her mother, 10-year Farragut resident Usha Jagadish, donned the safety harness and then scaled the 20-foot wall with little effort.

Mayun shared her secret for climbing success. She had practiced Friday night with “two climbs for $5” — then returned Saturday to polish her climbing skills further.

Meanwhile, Amanda Gerston, 16, vocalist with Crash Course, played tambourine and sang with the boys to such crowd-pleasers as “Sharp Dressed Man,” “Seven Nations Army,” “Into the Night of the Dark Black Cloud,” “Black and Black,” and the Beatles’ “Day Tripper.”

Pam Campbell, the group’s manager (aka mother of drummer Nick Campbell, 9) proudly videotaped the noon performance of Crash Course whose other members are Zachary Drew, 13; Harry Gerston, 14; A.J. Baker, 14 — all Farragut Middle School students — and Kyle Renfro, 13, of Loudon. Campbell attends Farragut Intermediate School.

Crash Course was a Saturday warm-up for Vinyl Season, the West Side Daredevils and other bands who played to appreciative crowds as sunshine peaked out from behind fast-scudding clouds.

Across the way, four popular clowns from First Baptist Concord’s troupe, fashioned balloon animals and applied elaborate face painting to a procession of teenagers and pre-teens. Glory Clowns Spunky, Tulip, Granny Mac and Daisy Mae bore an uncanny resemblance to Linda Raby, Dottie Godolphin, Jean McFadden and Elsie Duncan.

Inside the nearby handicrafts tent, Larry Ubry of Knoxville discussed with passersby his elaborate artistry sculpted in copper and brass.

Ubry, who works from his Crestfield Road home, said he’d learned the art form from a Murfreesboro son-in-law and now does custom work, mostly for residences. His Metal Art sculpture includes metallic leaf spray motifs, along with realistic, yet fanciful, butterflies and hummingbirds — and an occasional bone-rattler bicycle thrown in for good measure.

Unlike other copper sculpture, Ubry said, his creations are finished with a special coating so they will never tarnish or lose their warm luster, even outdoors.

Across the tent from Ubry, Jim Cantrell of Clinton paired up with Tim Morgan of Clemson, S.C., in demonstrating the capabilities of their shiny, 9-ply Royal Prestige cookware.

Cantrell’s practiced patter brought in several customers for the cookware maker’s Chef’s Choice sets, food cutters, utensils and Thermal Deluxe Health Systems.

Just outside the tent, Walter and Bonny Love, who also have a catering business, said they were doing a brisk business Saturday selling their “Love That B-B-Q” specialty.

“It’s our second year here,” Bonny told one customer. “Our business is sure better than it was here last year.”

Also available in the lineup were hand-dipped corndogs, funnel cakes, chocolate dipped cheesecake, chicken and fajitas on pita bread, gyros, sausages, kettle corn, nachos, sweet potato fries, caramel apple wedges, cotton candy and ribbon fries.

A slow drizzle set in Sunday afternoon, slowing festival attendance some.

But one food vendor had a pragmatic approach to the change in weather.

“Whenever our frozen lemonade sales slack off a little,” she said brightly, “that’s all right because we just sell more cappuccino and hot chocolate!”


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