Rolater Park was packed this weekend for the annual Cave Spring Arts Festival and 5K run.

Almost 200 runners braved the steamy humid conditions for the race and a near record number of vendors showed up with arts, crafts and food for people to enjoy.

More than 90 vendors were set up in Rolater Park for the Saturday event, along with a dozen food booths.

Andy Hamilton came all the way from Tampa, Florida, with his Twisted Mind Rusty Metal crafts.

“My wife found it on a schedule,” Hamilton said about the festival. “We were here about 10 years ago and I liked the town.”

Hamilton was a brick and block mason for more than 40 years before he got into crafting items from just about any kind of metal he could find.

“It’s all recycled art made from old tools, car parts and golf clubs,” he said.

Kent Huisingh and his wife were among the visitors at the park Saturday. The couple moved recently from New Mexico to Centre, Alabama. He stopped by Curtis Burch’s floral booth to see if the Cave Spring businessman could help ID some plants.

“We’re gardeners and we’re just trying to identify what we’ve got in our yards,” Huisingh said. “The lady before us planted a whole bunch of stuff and all of the labels are gone.”

Toff Rothwell may have had the most unusual menu among the food vendors. He was cooking up alligator sausage with lots of fresh onions for curious visitors to his booth.

“My gator comes out of Florida and it goes to Colorado (for processing) and then it comes back to me in Temple and I spread it all over the Southeast,” he said.

Rothwell, who does about 35 arts and crafts fairs a year, said his Real South Concessions booth travels all across the Southeast and Mid-Atlantic regions for large weekend events.

Doyle Newton made the short trip from Anniston to Cave Spring with his stained-glass crafts.

“A lot of people think ‘If I get it smaller, it’ll be cheaper,’ but it’s actually just the opposite,” Newton said. “Smaller pieces are harder to grind and harder to produce.”

His wife, Vonzille Newton, creates his patterns on a computer and has produced over 3,500 designs. The couple does six or seven shows a year and Doyle said he’s excited to be out in a post-COVID environment.

“It allowed me to build up some of my inventory,” Newton said. “We had several shows earlier in the spring and people were so hungry to get out and mingle with other people. We had two remarkable shows on back to back weekends.”

The couple has been coming to the Cave Spring show for four or five years and said they have fallen in love with the community.

The Cave Spring Arts Festival benefits the Cave Spring Historical Society and many of its efforts. Billy Wayne Abernathy said they are hoping the show and road race would net about $30,000 for the society.

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