Photo contributed by Susanne S. Cate / The historic Appalachian village at the Heritage Center in Townsend, Tenn., will showcase pioneer skills during Christmas in the Village on select Saturdays in December.

Festivalgoers looking for new options this weekend have a chance to shop Christmas markets in Soddy-Daisy, Cleveland and Manchester, Tennessee, or see pioneer demonstrations in Townsend, Tennessee.

Back-to-back Christmas markets are scheduled in Soddy-Daisy. The first is Saturday at Trojan Hall. The December date is one in a series of seasonal events designed to animate the space and throw a financial lifeline to vendors whose bottom line has been affected by coronavirus cancellations, organizer Andrea Hayes Smith previously told the Times Free Press. The lineup will include new and returning vendors offering food, apparel, jewelry, crafts, beauty products and home decor.

On Sunday afternoon, Stuart Heights Baptist Church will host its annual Christmas Market at its Soddy-Daisy campus.

Chattanooga-based vendor Cristi Roberts will be at both markets. She said her new business venture, Boo Bear Blankets & Body Care, was borne of the pandemic, after she watched a YouTube video on how to hand-knit blankets with her older daughter, Bella, 8, who is "really big into crafts."

"This was back in March when the virus hit and we were all quarantined in our homes," Roberts said. "I thought, 'I'll just do this as a hobby.'"

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Contributed photo by Cristi Roberts / Vendor Cristi Roberts, of Boo Bear Blankets & Body Care, will have her hand-knit blankets at two Christmas markets in Soddy-Daisy this weekend. Roberts takes custom orders for the blankets, which can be made of soft, thick chenille yarn or Merino wool.

After mastering the craft, she began taking custom orders in August as a way to supplement the family income as a stay-at-home mom (younger daughter Claire just turned 1).

Knowing what to expect with a fledgling business is "hard with the quarantine," she said. "People are iffy about coming out to festivals, which I understand But that does kind of hinder the outcome a little bit."

In Cleveland, Tammy Barker said she has lost about two-thirds of the 145 vendors she initially had scheduled for the Kool Dill Christmas Festival at Bradley Square Mall.

"Literally in two days, over half of my vendors called and said they'd been diagnosed with COVID or some of them said their whole family had it," she said.

Despite the mass cancellations, she said she will have 35 to 40 vendors at a storefront inside the mall and another eight to 10 food vendors outside at the main entrance. The horse-and-carriage and kiddie carnival rides have been canceled, but she does expect the petting zoo to take place.

The market was initially scheduled for 1 to 9 p.m., but Barker said most vendors will be ready for customers when the mall opens at 10 a.m.

In Manchester, organizer Jessica Miller said the Rustic Lace Christmas Bazaar will take place Saturday and Sunday at the Coffee County Fairgrounds. The two-day event, formerly known as the Holly Jolly Marketplace, will feature more than 50 handmade arts and crafts vendors, as well as boutiques and food purveyors.

In Townsend, the Heritage Center is welcoming visitors to Christmas in the Village the first three Saturdays in December. Each evening, living-history interpreters will guide visitors through the holiday-adorned Appalachian village, which will be filled with handcraft demonstrations and make-and-take craft stations that recall pioneer traditions of Townsend, Cades Cove and the Great Smoky Mountains.

Masks are required for the tours. Those arriving without masks may purchase them in the gift shop.



* Christmas Craft Show: Gatlinburg Convention Center, 234 Historic Nature Trail, Gatlinburg, Tenn. Handcrafted gifts by local artisans, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday-Saturday, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Sunday. Free.


DEC. 5

* Christmas at the Colonnade: Ringgold, Ga. Canceled.

* Christmas Market: Trojan Hall, 10838 Dayton Pike, Soddy-Daisy. More than a dozen vendors offering food, apparel, jewelry, crafts, home decor and beauty products, 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Free.

* Kool Dill Christmas Festival: Bradley Square Mall, 2oo Paul Huff Parkway, Cleveland, Tenn. Fifty merchandise and food vendors, 10 a.m.-9 p.m. Free.


DEC. 5-6

* Rustic Lace Christmas Bazaar: Coffee County Fairgrounds, 99 Lakeview Drive, Manchester, Tenn. Fifty arts, crafts, boutique and food vendors, 9 a.m.-4 p.m. CST Saturday and Sunday. Free.


DEC. 5, 12, 19

* Christmas in the Village: Heritage Center, 123 Cromwell Drive, Townsend, Tenn. Celebration of Smoky Mountain pioneer traditions and demonstrations, 5-8 p.m. select Saturdays in December. $10 adults, $8 seniors, $7 children 6 and older.


DEC. 6

* Christmas Market: Stuart Heights Baptist Church, Soddy-Daisy campus, 10049 Dayton Pike. Up to 60 vendor booths, 1:30-6 p.m. Free admission.

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