The Farm at Rocky Top hosts a weekend craft festival

SALEM, Ala. (WRBL) – A cool breeze and soft country music greeted visitors to The Farm at Rocky Top. Dozens of vendors were spread out on the lawn surrounding the barn, selling everything from bouquets of dried flowers to antiques, fried cakes and tea. It was the first hour of Rocky Top’s inaugural Hay Days craft festival and hundreds of guests were already milling around.

“Holy cow!” said a woman in astonishment as she and her partner entered the farm.

“It took two years to develop,” said owner Jan Lawrence, adding that her family has owned the farm for 50 years.

According to Lawrence, the idea for Hay Days came about in 2021 following the success of the farm’s annual Christmas market and pumpkin patch and the addition of a wedding location in 2016.

Assisting in the planning process was co-chair Carol Pridgen, who Lawrence said was key to the project’s success.

“I couldn’t do this on my own,” Lawrence said. She and Pridgen said their initial goal was for 50 vendors, but they’ve continued to increase the number as more local businesses joined. Over the weekend of the festival, Lawrence reported 90 vendors in attendance. She expects more next year.

In addition to the numerous vendors, Lawrence also made sure the event had plenty to offer for children and families. Across the venue was a bouncy castle, a petting zoo, a train, and what she called “photo ops” — staged areas where guests could take photos to post on social media, thus creating a gift card im $250 worth up for grabs.

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For Flower Child Florals’ Angie Brown and Steve Sherrer, the Hay Days Festival is their first time attending an event as vendors. The florists, who carry unique dry and fresh flower arrangements, seemed in good spirits as they worked from their RV.

Brown said: “It seems really nice. Nice venue and everyone seems happy and it’s just a good turnout.”

Lawrence explained that she and Pridgen have attended numerous other craft festivals and used online sources to create their event. She reported that naming the festival was one of the most difficult parts.

“Typically events like this are named after a season or something related to the geography of the country,” Lawrence said. “So the question came to me, ‘What’s up with the Rocky Top in May?’ And I said, “Well, my husband cuts hay.” And that’s that! So let’s just call it ‘Hay Days’ because I’m a fun farmer, he’s a hay farmer.”

The event will last until 5 p.m. today and will continue tomorrow from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m

Admission for all guests over the age of three is $8 per person to cover festival costs and farm maintenance. The fee also includes any non-vendor activities offered at Hay Days.

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