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Arts and crafts festival aiming for all ages

Hope Killough with Anleigh Davis, 2, of Greenville enjoy a pony ride.

With plenty of fun for children, entertainment, a free petting zoo and free pet setting, the 46th annual Calico Fort Arts and Crafts Festival in Fort Deposit is shaping up to be a great event for the entire family this weekend, Saturday and Sunday, April 8-9.

Frieda Cross, president of the Fort Deposit Arts Council, which sponsors the annual event, recently reported on the fun for children and the entertainment on tap.

Cross also said there will be a free petting zoo, sponsored by Trinity Framing of Montgomery, with peacocks, chickens, rabbits, goats, ducks and miniature donkeys. She also said there will be free pet setting by Butler County Humane Society representatives just outside Gate 6 at the park.

But more than that, she said, children will enjoy pony rides, Wipe Out Inflatables, Air Jump Inflatable, Bungy Jump and the Mechanical Bull.

Cross said, “Entertainment in the amphitheater this year will include Ashley Jackson, Ben Norris, Steve Pendley, Caleb Luckie, Southern Gentlemen and Max Conway and The Girl Next Door.” And, she said, the music will include Gospel, Country and Blue Grass.

With an expanded antique alley, the return of funnel cakes with fruit topping and the addition of real “firehouse” chili, food for the arts and crafts fair will also include barbecue chicken plates, barbecue sandwiches, hamburgers, Frito Pie and plenty of sweets including homemade ice cream.

Other food items available will include Polish Dogs, chicken fingers, fries, pop corn, cotton candy, kettle korn, roasted nuts, apple dumplings, goat milk caramels, bottled water, cold drinks, lemonade, tea and hot coffee.

This year, according to Cross, the funnel cakes and chili will be offered by the Fort Deposit Volunteer Fire Department, which will benefit from the sales. Hence, real firehouse chili.

As to arts and crafts, Cross said, “We’ve added to our antique alley.” But more than that, she said, most exhibitors from the past will return, along with a lot of new ones.

in addition to antiques, there are usually about 125 exhibitors with handmade arts and crafts that are imaginative, beautiful and useful.

And while Cross said all the exhibitors are exciting, she said, this year, there will be several people who make pottery. And, she said, “I love to watch them.”

Cross said some $2,500 along with trophies and ribbons will be given as awards following judging by an independent judge at the arts and crafts fair. “So, we’re planning on a great show,” she said.

The awards are made possible by a grant from the Lowndes County Commission.

The Calico Fort Arts and Crafts Fair is said to be one of the oldest, largest and most popular in the South. And proceeds benefit community projects.

Admission to this year’s event will be $5 for adults and $2 for children.

Calico Fort is located 15 miles north of Greenville and 30 miles south of Montgomery in Fort Deposit off Interstate 65 exit 142. Just follow the signs.

The outdoor show is located on six acres of land with plenty of adjacent parking.