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Calico Fort draws large weekend crowd

Calico Fort was a family affair for some of the local vendors displaying their wares. Greenville artist and artisan Mary Croley had her original paintings, along with notecards, bookmarks and hand-crafted items on display right next to the booth of fine art photographers (and Croley’s daughter and son-in-law) Billie and Ken Wilhelm, of Elkmont. Croley and the Wilhelms say they have been regulars at the event since the early 2000s.

“I came in the very early days of Calico Fort, but there was a terrible storm and one day of the event was canceled, as I recall. And I didn’t come back for a long time,” Croley said, adding, “This year, the weather’s been just ideal and I’ve had several sales. We look forward to doing this event each spring.”

Father and son Mark and Andy Coleman of Coleman and Sons Woodworking of Greenville shared their intricate scroll saw-cut wood puzzles and ornaments, the sales of some of which help support various environmental organizations. And a third Coleman, Jeremy, had his hand-crafted furniture and home décor items on display at the booth. “It’s been a little slow, but we have had some sales. And it’s also our first time here at the festival,”Andy Coleman said on Sunday afternoon.

She won’t remember it when she grows up, but local tot Caytee Conway, age two, was having a blast on the bungee jumps in the kid’s section at Calico Fort.

“She’s a little daredevil,” said Caytee’s dad Jacob as he videoed the toddler’s high-flying antics for posterity. Kids at Calico also enjoyed sampling the array of edible goodies, from all-day suckers to the type of slushies that turned Braggs resident Vivian Gates’ tongue and lips blue as she took a break to listen to the live music. Later Gates was one of many attendees spotted with the “Pretty in Pink” tin cup, just one of several souvenir tin cups available from Bayou Billy’s Sweet Tea stand, where patrons could also choose the unsweetened variety of the “house wine of the South” along with lemonade.

“Everybody’s got one of those cups, I think,” said Katye Giddens of Fort Deposit, who performed both days with musical partner Max Conway, coincidentally the granddad of little Caytee. In keeping with the family feel of the Fort, Giddens’ son Caleb Luckie also shared his vocal and guitar talents with the Calico Fort patrons over the weekend.