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Perfect weather draws big crowd to Mule Camp Market

Gainesville's annual fall festival continues today

POSTED: October 12, 2013 10:45 p.m.

With the sun beaming down and the vendor spaces full, the annual Mule Camp Market fall festival drew a big crowd Saturday to the Gainesville square.

From the smell of homemade food being served to the painting of kids’ faces and the hand-crafted arts on display, the traditional fall festival had appeal for people of all ages.

The event started Friday morning and runs through today, opening at noon and ending at 5 p.m.

“It has been good. It’s a good turnout. The weather has been good,” said Charlie Hawkins, member of the Gainesville Jaycees, which organizes the festival.

“You can’t beat this weather. That’s the biggest thing. We were packed out on vendor spaces,” Hawkins said. “We had some good donations this year. Logistically, everything worked out. The city has helped us out a ton with everything.”

Hawkins called the Mule Camp Market the “building block” for the Gainesville Jaycees’ donations because it brings in a lot of money the organization uses for different charity works, such as the Christmas Stocking Fund.
“The vendors were great. We’ll pretty much just mimic the same thing we did this year with it for next,” he said. “Because we really can’t expand anymore for vendors. We’re actually to a point where we are turning some (vendors) down.

“We get a lot of last-minute applicants. This year, we had to turn a few down, unfortunately. Hopefully, they’ll all apply again next year and look forward to them (new vendors) coming out.”

First-year vendor Dawn Kurtz and her daughter’s company, Specially Just 4 U, have enjoyed their first time selling merchandise at Mule Camp.

“We like it,” she said. “There’s no problems with control. Every thing is calm, flows good. The store owners are real nice. I like the variety (Mule Camp) has. A lot of (festivals) have the same old thing.”

Bethlehem United Methodist Church sold barbecue Saturday. Ray Hortman, member of BUMC, said his father helped start the tradition he carries on to raise money for the church.

“We’ve enjoyed today. A little slow on Friday, but it’s picked up today,” Hortman said. “The crowd seems real nice. We’re enjoying ourselves, and as far as making money for the church, we’re doing well. Just enjoy the fellowship we have.

“We covered our cost on Friday, so the rest of the weekend is above-board from there on out. We’re just hoping to have a good time tomorrow (Sunday).”

Robby Mathis of 540 Martial Arts had students demonstrate some of their skills to the crowd Saturday. Mathis said every year he has been at Mule Camp to perform, it turns out great.

“I do it every year, every chance I can,” he said. “I try to get in touch with them (the organizers) so I can get out here and get a spot.”

Mathis, a lifelong Gainesville resident, said he came to the festival every year before performing.

“It’s always packed. It’s always one of the best organized (festivals),” Mathis said. “There’s always something here for everyone. It’s always a lot of fun. I just love it.”

Linda Dyer, a 30-year resident of Gainesville, and her group, Pink Cupcake Chicks, pitched the tent at Mule Camp to help raise money and awareness for breast cancer and an Atlanta fundraising walk the group will take part in next week.

With October being National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, Dyer said it was “perfect timing” to coincide with Mule Camp.

“It’s (Mule Camp) is a really good fundraiser for us,” she said. “This is the greatest time for us.”

Sharon Holt, along with her husband and two kids, stop by Mule Camp every year. She said it something they enjoy.

“It’s a neighborhood festival. We like to come out participate,” she said. “People enjoy coming out and being a part of the crowd, and seeing what’s available from the vendors.”

She said her kids enjoyed the jump houses and the carnival rides, while her and husband enjoyed looking at the different folk art and metal works.

Tommy Fleming and his girlfriend, Darci Martin, stood in line so Fleming’s niece, Caleigh Nation, 6, could get her face painted.

“She (Caleigh) wanted to get her hair done and face painted,” Martin said. “It’s (Mule Camp) something new all the time. There’s homemade stuff and then there’s store stuff, so you get both of everything you want.”

Fleming and Martin also said they were looking forward to eating kettle corn and caramel apples.


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