Appalachian Center for Crafts holiday festival offers something for everyone

Forget the hustle and bustle of Christmas shopping at malls and department stores the day after Thanksgiving — the Holiday Festival at the Appalachian Center for Crafts offers one-of-a-kind gifts handcrafted by well-known artists, fine food and music.

The free annual event, set for Friday through Sunday, Nov. 29 to Dec. 1, is popular because of its galleries brimming with art, seasonal offerings from Mama Lea’s Café and craft demonstrations.

This year, the galleries feature works by members of the Cumberland Valley chapter of the Tennessee Association of Craft Artists and wood and fiber pieces by bachelor of fine arts seniors.

Music therapy students will be playing seasonal music daily from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the center’s lobby, near a Christmas tree decorated with paper ornaments created by Claudia Lee.

Located just off the lobby is Mama Lea’s Café, whose special holiday menu includes all-you-can-eat soup and salad bar, beef brisket on a kaiser roll and seared tuna in a soy ginger sauce — each for only $6.50. Coffee and bakery items will also be available. Lunch is served from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., and reservations are recommended. The restaurant’s phone number is 372-3051.

And a trip to the Craft Center isn’t complete without a tour of the studios.

Demonstrations are scheduled from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and include papermaking by Claudia Lee on Friday, glass blowing by Curtiss Brock and wood turning by Brenda Stein on Saturday and weaving by Lisa Klakulak on Sunday.

To get to the Craft Center, take Interstate 40 to Exit 273 and go six miles toward Smithville on Highway 56. For more information about the Holiday Festival, call the Craft Center at 372-3051.

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