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Mule Camp Market puts artists, family fun on display
Gabriel Kinsey, 9, leaps high in the air on bungee jumping equipment set up Friday afternoon in downtown Gainesville for Mule Camp Market. The annual three-day festival ends Sunday.

2010 Mule Camp Market

What: Fall festival with kids' zone, vendors, live entertainment and 5K race

When: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday; noon to 5 p.m. Sunday

Where: Downtown Gainesville square

How much: Free, items for sale



Woodstock artist Marlene Hopkins saw a steady flow of customers admire her metal sculptures, most of which were made from recycled refrigerant canisters, on Friday.

She was one of a record 190 vendors gathered on the downtown Gainesville square for the Mule Camp Market fall festival, which continues today and Sunday.

"We see a lot of repeat business every year. People buy some yard art and decide it's kind of lonely," Hopkins said of her art, which includes colorful pigs and jack-o'-lanterns.

Mule Camp Market organizers say business will only continue to swell this weekend, as more than 70,000 people are expected to come.

"It's our largest Mule Camp ever," said C. Danny Sanderson, of the Gainesville Jaycees.

The Jaycees took over the organization of the festival in 1993 and changed the name to Mule Camp, which reflects the name of the settlement that became Gainesville.

At a booth near the downtown square, Amos Wipf spoke excitedly with customers as he gave demonstrations with his rose engine lathe Friday. His self-made machine etched out ornamental patterns into wood.

"This art form goes back to the 1700s," Wipf explained.

"Royalty in Europe had ornamental turners on staff."

A few vendors said although the crowd was lighter on Friday, because of the workday, people weren't just browsing but buying as well.

Some of the usual crowd favorites include blacksmiths and family-oriented booths, Sanderson said. Among the kid's activities are sand art, the bungee swing and an area to make scarecrows. There's also an extensive food court and a bandstand.

Gainesville resident Morgan Peacock, who was styling hair as a fundraiser for her dance studio, Alley Cats, said she can remember attending the market as a little girl.

She said she enjoys the culture and diversity the market brings to the city.

"A lot of this stuff is handmade," Peacock said. "There's a lot of talent here that not many people know about."