Light rain and the threat of rain undoubtedly had an impact on the crowd at the annual Cave Spring Arts Festival Saturday, but it didn’t stop some artisans from driving as far as Jackson, Mississippi, to participate in the festival at Rolater Park.

Jim and Theresa Owens, from Florence, Mississippi, a suburb of Jackson, run Cowboy & Cowgirls Swings, offer crafty play horse swings and other objects, like bird feeders, from old tire parts. They have been making horse swings for about 20 years and Jim Owens said it’s a full-time job.

“I do three or four shows every month. This is the way I make my living,” Jim said. “They are all hand made, they’re not made in China.”

“This is our first time here and it looks like a really great show,” Theresa Owens added.

Tents have been set up to protect the vendors and their goods which range from pottery to handmade jewelry, children’s clothing, teddy bears and just about any kind of food one could imagine.

Tommy Helms, owner of Tommy’s Southern Fried Catering out of Adairsville, is semi-retired and cooks.

“I do it because I enjoy cooking and meeting people,” Helms said. He was well aware of the forecast for rain all weekend several days in advance but made the drive to Cave Spring as well. “You hope for the best and if not, you just deal with it,” he said as he dropped a dill pickle into the fryer.

Helms has been doing the festival circuit for about 28 years. He started at the Ellijay Apple Festival. His fried dill pickles and Tex Mex Taco Salad are big sellers.

“We make everything from scratch on site,” Helms said.

Cave Spring businessman Rip Montgomery said funds generated by the festival are used for the upkeep of several historic properties in Cave Spring including the Hearn Inn, Hearn Academy, the Baptist church in Rolater Park, the old Cherokee cabin off the town square and the old Presbyterian church in town.

Montgomery said the weather could really hurt the attendance, which in turn would reduce funds available for the maintenance of the historic properties. “Our vendors fees do help, but the bulk of the money comes from the gate so this could be very hurtful. We try to prepare for this (weather) but you’re never fully prepared no matter how much you do,” Montgomery said.

Marcia Ely, Rome, had every pew in the historic old Baptist church building in the park covered with her quilts, amazing because she’s only been quilting for about a year. “I’ve probably made over 100,” Ely said. “I can do one in a couple of days if I have all day. It’s about 15 hours.”

The festival was started in 1975 and will be open Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. There is a $5 fee for adults, however children under 12 are admitted free.

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