Chamber prepares for arts festival

Published 3:48 pm Monday, October 10, 2005

By By Janet Little Cooper
The Atmore Chamber of Commerce is busy making final preparations in an effort to transform the streets of Atmore to a simpler time of life Saturday, Oct. 22 as residents reminisce about a time when the town was named Williams Station.
Williams Station Day began in 1992 as a way to recount Atmore's founding in 1866 as a supply stop along the Mobile and Great Northern railroad. Thousands of people attend the annual event for a realistic sampling of southern heritage.
The day's events will be located on Pensacola Avenue and centered on the Atmore Lions Community Centers 1926 facade. Pensacola Avenue will have two separate art shows on display for an up close and personal view as artists demonstrate their talents in both fine arts and crafts.
"We are expecting a lot of new faces that have not been seen at this years event." Shelley Williams of the Atmore Chamber of Commerce said, "We have had numerous phone calls from artists who have been displaced from the hurricanes that are interested in participating." Spaces are still available in the Arts and Craft area. The booth space has been reduced to accommodate affected artists and has extended the deadline to register.
The Chamber is offering the Patrons of the Arts program again this year. The patrons program was designed to guarantee sales for the attending artists and helps the Chamber maintain a quality art show. Patrons make a commitment to spend $100 at the Williams Station Day art show by sending a check to the Chamber office at 501 South Pensacola Avenue. Patron of the Arts participants will be included in a drawing for an original print of this year's artwork that is displayed on the WSD t-shirts.
Music will fill the air as Lil' Jimmy Reed sings the blues and a The Old Time Fiddler's Tent has an all day jam session featuring some of the regions best musicians.
An authentic 1901 John Deere Chuck Wagon will set up camp just as in days of old, where Rusty and Bud Rankin and "Riverboat John" Ferguson will tell about all the uses of the wagon, share stories about the life of a cowboy and sing old cowboy songs.
"Our goal is interactive, agricultural and historical entertainment." Ferguson said.
McElhaney's Restaurant will be serving a New Orleans's style breakfast and lunch complete with entertainment for festivalgoers in addition to a variety of food choices on the street.
Entries to the WSD Photography Contest will be displayed at the Watson Cabin in Heritage Park. Photographs must be from the Atmore area depicting the community. Entries must be brought to First National Bank or Atmore Chamber of Commerce no later than Oct. 19 at 5 p.m. Cruisers will have an antique car show at Heritage Park.
Old Dan will be working an old time cane mill squeezing the sugar cane and serving the juice. Children can ride the Goat man hayride to the railroad crossing for a tour of a real locomotive as well as enjoy the Model Train Show in the Community Center. A moonwalk will be available for children as well as pony rides.
William Station T-shirts are available featuring the work of local artist, Larry Manning. This year's t-shirt features Uncle Bud with his oxen, flagging down the No. 6 train at Williams Station.
The Atmore Historical Society will also be selling collectable Christmas ornaments with the train station etched in it.
This years Williams Station Day festival sponsors are: Pepsi, Untied Bank, Gulf Winds, Frontier, Chuck Stevens, Swift Supply, Poarch Creek Indians. Venue sponsors for this years event are: The First National Bank sponsoring The Old Time Fiddlers' Tent, Alabama Power Company sponsoring The Storytelling Tent, United Bank sponsoring the New Orleans style breakfast and lunch at McElhaney's, Central Farm Supply sponsoring the Pumpkin Painting and Carving Contest and Masland Carpets and Atmore News sponsoring the Picture Atmore Photography contest.
"We are looking for it to be a great day." Williams said. "Hopefully the weather will be good and we can enjoy a day with no thoughts of hurricanes, wind velocity or eye walls."

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