Sunny skies and cooler temperatures greeted the throngs of people who attended last Saturday's Pike Road Arts and Craft Fair. The weather was just what the doctor ordered. Fair organizers report that on a good day, between 10,000 and 15,000 people pass through the gates of the historic Marks House on Old Carter Hill Road, and last Saturday was no different. People from across Alabama and the southeast attended, and the more than 200 vendors represented Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi, Florida, Arkansas, and beyond.
Whatever your fancy, be it birdhouses, various soaps, plants, flowers, metal work, glass items, goat milk, linen clothing, gourds, pottery, spices, oils, ointments, unguents, rubs, wood crafts, cheese, or back-scratchers, you could have found it at the Fair. Hungry? You could have stopped by the SmokeShack BBQ, the Chicken Shack, or maybe Pa-Pa's and Grammie's P-nuts. Those with a sweet tooth could visit the Sweet Shop in the Marks House. All cakes, pies, cookies, and fudge etc. were made locally by Pike Road ladies.
Speaking of eating, browsing the many vendors at the Fair always seems to work-up an appetite, so having lunch in the back yard of the Marks House is the natural thing to do. Indeed, that aspect of such gatherings is part of the arts and craft show culture. People who had never met before became friends, and were always interested in what the other had bought.
The Pike Road Volunteer Fire Dept. was there to provide first aid if needed. From its humble beginnings decades ago, the annual event is now one of the Top Twenty shows in the southeast! A few of the Montgomery and Pike Road area vendors on hand Saturday included Pam and Jon Winton of Lindsay Farms (Lindsay Farms' famous Vidalia Onion BBQ Sauce), Bruce Brannen (cowboy artist and poet), Skipper Farms (home of Cee Cee's Special Sauce), Pa Pa's and Grammie's P-Nuts, and a host of others.
As is the case with most such shows, several booths were clearly crowd favorites. Lindsay Farms was a favorite, as was Jerry Wheat's Drifters Driftwood Designs, Mike and Cathy Brown's Lightning Hill Candles, and Eddie's Bees Raw Honey from Ramer, Alabama, to name a few.
Many of the vendors follow the craft-show circuit and moved on to the next event following Saturday's event. The Marks House was built between 1825 and 1830 by William Mathews Marks, the son of Nicholas Meriwether Marks. Dr. H.B. "Woody" Bartlett bought the house in 1957, a few years before Frank and Eleanor Perry filmed Truman Capote's "Thanksgiving Visitor" there in 1967.
Dr. Bartlett consented for the community to use the house as a community center without charge, and through the efforts of the community, the house is being preserved. The Town of Pike Road along with Rhonda Tatum and Cindy Smith of the Pike Road Civic Club and Community Club wish to express their sincere appreciation to Dr. Bartlett for his generosity in allowing the Arts and Craft Fair to be held on his property each year. Many thanks also to the Montgomery County Sheriff's Office and numerous volunteers who make the annual event possible. Those interested in being a vendor at the Fair next year may go to pikeroadartsandcraftfair.com for more information. The Fair is held on the first Saturday of November.