White Oak Fair reflects heritage

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White oak baskets and chairs helped many Cannon families endure the Depression.

The White Oaks Crafts Fair set for Sept. 13 and 14 will celebrate its 24th year on the banks of the East Fork of Stones River in Woodbury.

From 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. both Saturday and Sunday, the Arts Center of Cannon County will host the top craft artisans from throughout the region who will offer for sale their original textiles, jewelry, woodcarving, metalwork, pottery, photography, chairs, baskets, ironwork, stained glass and much more. 

The White Oaks Crafts Fair owes its name to Cannon County's long tradition of fine crafters.  In fact, many local families turned to making white oak baskets and chairs as a means of survival during the Depression. 

 They traded the white oak craft items for lamp oil, sugar, coffee, cloth, thread and other things they couldn't grow or hunt.  The baskets and chairs were hauled to major cities like Detroit, Miami and New York, and peddled on the streets.

In the 1960's, a wave of newcomers yearning to get "back to the land" began to settle in the area and put down roots.  Today, many of these "transplants" have joined with the traditional local crafts families (now fifth and sixth generation crafters) to create a vibrant crafts community.

This rich crafts tradition, couple with the activities and reputation of The Arts Center of Cannon County, caused Woodbury to be the only town in Tennessee selected by John Villani in his book, "The 100 Best Small Art Towns in America."

The White Oaks Crafts Fair is held in association with the Cannon Association of Craft Artists.

More than 75 regional artisans will present an enormous variety of work, all of which is chosen by a highly-respected selection panel.

The event's reputation has spread to attract new attendees from across the region as well as appealing, year after year, to regular visitors. 

Although a high percentage of the participants in the show are typically perennial favorites, new exhibitors join the show each year, so there is always something new and fresh for visitors. 

The fair also includes food booths and "The Blue Porch @ The Arts Center" restaurant will offer delicious home-cooked meals. 

Admission to crafts fair is free with a $3 donation for supervised parking to benefit The Woodbury Lions Club and The Arts Center of Cannon County.  The event is held adjacent to The Arts Center of Cannon County, 1424 John Bragg Highway.

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