By Becky Jane Newbold
Just a short time ago, the town’s single traffic light might have provided the only reason to stop in Linden. That all changed about five years ago.
Responding to desperate times, business owners and local officials locked arms and went to the governor with a plea for help when Perry County was met with 19 percent unemployment rates. Jobs were gone and so was hope for many in the rural county near the Tennessee River on the western edge of middle Tennessee.
Born was a thriving arts district, job creation through Vision Perry and hope, all from a visit by then Governor Phil Bredesen, other state officals and much needed financial help in the form of grants. Yet, money alone could not right all that was wrong. Grit, determination and creativity built the foundation for what is now the Blooming Arts Festival, the official start to spring in the region and a new beginning for a town that refused to give up.
As one of the season’s earliest festivals, the 2013 Blooming Arts Festival “offers a variety of unique crafts, tempting foods, and fun for the entire family,” organizers said.
The festival features local and regional artists and performers of all kinds. Musicians, dancers, storytellers and poets, as well as painters, photographers, quilters, and all types of folk artists are welcome. “Especially encouraged are those with skills that can be demonstrated on-site, such as glass blowers, sculptors, potters and wood-workers,” organizers added.
The Blooming Arts Festival continues to grow as part of the ongoing cultural and economic renaissance of the beautiful rural community of Perry County. Sponsored by the Town of Linden, the festival was organized to “bring attention to some of our local artists, as well as bring in some people from outside,” Linden mayor Jim Azbill explained. “A festival is a proven way to bring people into the community,” he added.
A “call for artists” is currently underway for artists and vendors interested in participating in the 2013 Blooming Arts Festival, Linden, scheduled for March 22-24, 2013. This year will be a three day event with festivities beginning on Friday March 22, 2013 at Noon and continuing through Sunday March 24 at 5 p.m.
The family-friendly festival is a grand day out for people of all ages. In addition to the live entertainment and arts and crafts exhibits and demonstrations, there will be plenty of good food as well as attractions for the kids, including an inflatable slide and bounce house.
Begun in 2009, the Blooming Arts Festival was an immediate success, and has grown in size and scope. Attendance at last year’s festival attracted thousands. With a bigger attendance and an increase in vendors every year, local and regional artists/vendors are an integral part of Linden’s Blooming Arts Festival.
Attendance is free, and artists have multiple ways to reserve a space. For information or to reserve a space as a performer or vendor, call at 931-589-3031, or e-mail email@example.com. Interested parties are encouraged to utilize online registration by visiting www.regonline.com/bloomingartsfestival2013. Like the Linden Blooming Arts Festival on Facebook.
Registration closes four weeks prior to the event.
Contributions by Julia Rotgers