Celebrating our roots
By by Connie Nowlin Managing editor
Although there was a cloudy start to the day, the 11th annual Williams Station Day went off with very few hitches.
Vendors set up along the three block corridor of Pensacola Avenue, and residents and visitors alike strolled through, many pushing baby strollers.
A 5-K run was held before the welcoming speeches from the center stage. Andrea Nall was the overall winner in the female division with a time of 22:56, in spite of running with a broken big toe on her right foot. Rob Oates was the overall winner in the male division with a time of 17:55. About 57 runners participated in the race.
Main Street was closed for two hours in order to hold a zydeco breakfast and street dance. But when the fais do-do was over, it was down to Pensacola Avenue where the browsing began in earnest.
One of the biggest attractions to vendors is the issuance of 'script' to patrons of Williams Station Day.
Patrons sign up in advance, pledging to spend at least $100 with the artists and craftsmen. They send a check to the Atmore Chamber of Commerce and in return get play money that is as good as cash with the vendors, but no where else. The program guarantees there will be a certain amount of money spent with the vendors on Williams Station Day.
It keeps Hubert Clemens of Tees an More, out of Crestview, Fla., coming back to Atmore.
"I come here and I know there is money to be spent here that day," Clemens said. "I go to other shows and I don't know what there is out there."
He has been coming to Williams Station Day for eight years and would not dream of missing it.
Clemens said he always has a good day in Atmore, even if the weather does not cooperate.
Jeff Martin, of Martin Wood Products out of Pensacola, is also a long-time vendor at this show.
"I've been coming up here since its inception," Martin said. "It's always a good day. Some years are better than others, but the good outweigh the bad, because the community turns out and supports it well."
The event was inaugurated to commemorate Atmore's roots as a railroad town and to mark its beginnings as a whistle stop on the rail line, known then as Williams Station.