Standing together in the Tennessee Pavilion, sheltered from the brilliant afternoon sunshine, three generations of mothers stood side by side on Sunday, basking in the Mother's Day celebration at the Chattanooga Market.
Erma Smith, her daughter Cheryl Stander and granddaughter Melissa Scannapiego were cuddling the newest member of the family: 21/2-month-old Bear Scannapiego, looking dapper in a vest and trousers. The trio, hailing from Cleveland, Tenn., decided the market was just the spot for their special day.
"We came for Mother's Day, but we didn't expect a Mother's Day celebration like this," Stander said.
Many families from near and far gathered at the market Sunday to honor their mothers and enjoy the carnivallike atmosphere.
Girls in colorful dresses happily devoured bowls heaped high with ice cream, and little boys in their Sunday finest clutched bags of kettle corn.
Moms were treated to soothing massages, fragrant soaps and candles, decadent chocolates and a selection of wine and champagne.
"It's great, and the weather couldn't be more perfect," said Darin Capes.
Capes drove up from Cartersville, Ga., to spend the day with his wife, Jennifer, and their six children, ranging from 6 months to 10 years old.
"They told me 'happy Mother's Day,' and then they had to do exactly what I wanted, which was to come here," Jennifer Capes said. "I've wanted to come here for over a year, and we finally made it out today."
After a delicious lunch downtown, the family flocked to the market to see what wonders were offered.
"It's like a farmers market meets an arts and crafts festival," Jennifer Capes said, looking around excitedly. "The smell of the market is the best part."
For Smith, who celebrated her 86th birthday May 2, Mother's Day started well before the visit to the market. She said her day started Friday, when her son stopped by for a visit.
"He took me to Red Lobster," she said. "My celebrations started a few days ago."
After having their fill of the sights and sounds the market had to offer, Smith and her family headed off to finish their Mother's Day festivities with a dinner at Big River Grille.
"She told me we were eating at McDonald's," Smith said, pointing jokingly at Stander. "But so far, I've had a wonderful Mother's Day."
Contact staff writer Lindsay Burkholder at email@example.com or 423-757-6592.