For a drive of two hours or less, this weekend's gift and craft markets offer shoppers a variety of items to stuff Christmas stockings.
Christmas Village, the annual gift mart sponsored by Pi Beta Phi sorority alumnae in Nashville, fills four exhibit halls on the Tennessee State Fairgrounds. Of the 270 vendors there, most will sell gift items; handcrafts are in the minority here. The variety of merchandise makes this a day-trip worth the drive.
Looking for a personalized gift? Give the reader on your list a book autographed by Dr. Bill Bass, author, forensic anthropologist and founder of the University of Tennessee's Anthropology Research Facility -- better known as The Body Farm. He and co-author Jon Jefferson have produced eight books in their Body Farm series, which features forensic scientist Dr. Bill Brockton.
FESTIVALS ON TAP
Christmas Village: Tennessee State Fairgrounds, 500 Wedgewood Ave., Nashville, 9 a.m.-9 p.m. Friday, 9 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturday, noon-6 p.m. Sunday (all times Central). $10 ages 10 and older; 270 vendors in four buildings. christmasvillage.org.
Elegant Elf: Lake Forest Elementary School, 5920 Sandy Springs Circle, Sandy Springs, Ga., 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday, 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Sunday, $5 ages 11 and older; gift market with more than 50 vendors sponsored by Sandy Springs Society. sandyspringssociety.org/elegant-elf.
Foothills Craft Guild: Chilhowee Park, Rutledge Pike in Knoxville, 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Friday-Saturday, 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Sunday, $8 ages 13 and older, 140 crafters, book corner features authors Dr. Bill Bass, Bill Landry, Sam Venable and Jim Johnson autographing their books. www.foothillscraftguild.org.
Holiday Market: Franklin County Annex, 839 Dinah Shore Blvd., Winchester, Tenn., 9 a.m.-7 p.m. Friday; 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturday (all times Central); free, 25 vendors. 615-330-3811.
Santa's Workshop: Tennessee Technological University, Hyder-Burks Ag Pavilion, 12th Street, Cookeville, Tenn., 9 a.m.-8 p.m. Friday, 9 a.m.-7 p.m. Saturday, 1-5 p.m. Sunday (all times Central), $2.
Susan Palmer Pierce is a reporter and columnist in the Life department. She began her journalism career as a summer employee 1972 for the News Free Press, typing bridal announcements and photo captions. She became a full-time employee in 1980, working her way up to feature writer, then special sections editor, then Lifestyle editor in 1995 until the merge of the NFP and Times in 1999. She was honored with the 2007 Chattanooga Woman of ...