Festival of funPublished 6:53pm Tuesday, October 29, 2013
“It is a beautiful day.”
Mayor Jim Staff couldn’t have summed it up better, during the opening ceremonies of Williams Station Day Saturday in Atmore.
The weather stayed clear for the 22nd annual event to celebrate the city’s history and its original name.
In 1866, the town was a stop on the railroad that ran from Pollard to the Tensaw River, Staff told the crowd. The name was changed in honor of C.P. Atmore in 1895, he said.
Staff then read a proclamation honoring Williams Station Day and the crowd released pink balloons in honor of breast cancer awareness month.
Ellis Beachy, president of the Atmore Area Chamber of Commerce said this year’s event drew more visitors than last year’s.
“I felt like it was a good day,” Beachy said. “I felt like it was a good crowd.”
In addition to musical acts, the Alabama Blues Brothers and Microwave Dave and the Nukes, Williams Station Day offered many activities and vendors.
James Covington and his son, Asher, both of Atmore, were in the Atmore Area YMCA gym taking in the model train show. The show included two train setups and many train-related collections available for purchase.
“This is really good,” Covington said. “We’re out here with the Cub Scouts.”
Phillip Freeman, of Evergreen, brought his handmade knives and pens to the event.
“We just love it here,” he said. “It’s close to home.”
Artists had booths at the event as well and many were entered into the juried art show held during the festival.
Artist and Pensacola resident Susan Rand won best in show for her renderings on plywood, an idea she got after Hurricane Ivan hit.
“Ivan was so scary and everybody got plywood to board up windows,” she said. “After the storm left town — and tore up the place — there was all this plywood. We had a stack of plywood.”
Rand said it occurred to her to use the post-Ivan plywood for art projects.
“Ivan was the start of my whole medium,” she said.
Rand said she likes the warmth, texture and energy in the plywood. She said it gives her something to start with that a regular canvas can’t.
“A blank canvas is flat,” she said. “It has no life at all.”
Rand’s art is considered mixed media because she uses spray paint and fabric, as well as buttons and sometimes metal shards, to make a piece.
Artist Paul W. Synder made a return visit to the festival and took home a merit award for his bandsaw boxes made of natural wood.
Synder said he’s been interested in woodworking ever since he and his father started the craft together 30 years ago.
“When the economy has been bad, I’ve needed something to do,” he said.
Other merit finishes included Delia Stone and Marlene Nall Johnt. Eric Helton took home the Judges’ award, while Larry Manning took first place in the contest for his pottery.