Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Third Time is Charm...

Martha's award-winning Picker's Market entrance!

 Four years ago when I approached Tom Burton, Executive Director of AGAPE, with the idea of a new fundraiser and began talking about selling couches in a barn and how folks would flock to buy rusty junk turned into home furnishings, I was met with some resistance.  Barn Sales were just becoming popular around here, but I knew, with the AGAPE stamp on it, it would be a winner; nearly 40 years of successful fundraisers had proved that.

 Today, Bella Rustica is a force to be reckoned with.  Vendors traveled from 10 states just to be a part of a show that is causing quite a buzz in the junker’s market.  Eighty-plus vendors, great music, tasty southern food all in the gorgeous setting that is Legacy Farm drew shoppers as far away as St. Louis, Atlanta  and Harrisburg, IL.
The August heat didn’t keep too many shoppers away- and thanks to Amy Kinslow who designed our cute, collectable Bella fan sporting national statistics on foster children.  Plenty of strawberry lemonade and shaved ice kept junkers cool while they congregated on the patio of the Gypsy Tearoom or gathered under the tent at the main stage for some knee-slappin’ bluegrass. Thanks to every musician that came out and played for us for free!

Many thanks to Legacy Farm owners Jerry and Kellie Bryson for allowing us to stage our third annual Bella fundraiser on their amazing property just south of Lebanon.  The rustic wedding venue was transformed into a vibrant vintage marketplace, with gleaming white tents filled with antiques and scattered around the lovely pond and covered pier, landscaped covered bridges with waterfalls, and stately pre-civil war manor house.  Main Event Productions provided gourmet lunch selections at the Gypsy Tearoom Café, including a Southern Peach grilled chicken sandwich and summer watermelon salad.  The Cowgirl Cantina offered  ‘picker’ pulled pork BBQ or burgers.  Fried pies, soft baked cookies and baby bundt cakes were favorites for topping it all off.  You can’t have a junk market without food trucks, so we welcomed Blue Monkey Shaved Ice and Dixie Belles Cupcakes.
Getting an early start...

Shoppers enjoy respite from the heat on the patio of the Gypsy Tearoom
Dixie Belle's Cupcakes

Crooner T.J. McCloud 

Always a favorite, Junky Jo's Secondhand Cottage, Marion, IL

A big draw for market-goers is the ambience.  Besides gorgeous displays by the vendors and the beauty of the venue, a few surprises delighted guests in a 1960 Buick ‘gypsy mobile’ provided by collector Terry Kemp, filled with glittery cheetah, bling, funky throw-pillows and lots of pink shopping bags.  Ryan Surratt of Ausden, Inc. built a custom garden shed for the front entrance and Three French Hens of Nolensville completely covered a bicycle in rags and lace.

Ausden Inc

As an extra incentive, this year we presented a “Best Display” award to a deserving vendor;  prize being free booth rental for the 2014 show.  Judges swept through the marketplace early Friday morning ‘incognito’ and were met with a daunting task; so many talented artists and decorators!   Hours later, they finally agreed on one, well-deserving display-  a show-stopping entrance to the ‘Picker’s Market’.  Designer, ‘Miss Martha’ embodies everything that is AGAPE.  She designed the entrance as a favor to the show and to draw attention to not just her tent, but the entire group of vendors known as the ‘Carter’s Creek Clan’.  She had also made hand lettered signs for other areas of the marketplace because she loves Bella and its cause.  Due to a loss in her family she was not even able to work the show, so she gave her space to another vendor.  Martha brought iced washcloths in baggies for us and gave us bottles of frozen water during set-up.  Her laughter permeates the rafters and she’s never met a stranger.  Martha never expected to win any awards that day, but just to do her best to make Bella Rustica the best show yet. 

Finally, we couldn’t do this show without all the volunteers; they are the backbone of Bella Rustica.  Directing a show of this enormity is extremely labor-intensive, so much of our staff takes a day (or 2) during the week give a helping hand.  Others have volunteered before and return each year because they have a great time and because it’s for such a worthy cause.  When one show has closed, we immediately begin working on the next show, refining procedures and brainstorming how to make it better.  Heart-felt thanks to all who worked so hard behind the scenes this year, and for being the hands and feet of Jesus to many who may or may not know Him.  I’ve heard it said more than once, Bella is such a success because of AGAPE, and I would like to add, because it is covered in prayer and given over to Him daily.  “Go ahead and steal my show; I’ll step back and watch you go!” are lyrics to a Toby Mac song that encouraged me daily.  From the gorgeous sunrises and inspiring worship songs on my 45 minute commute, to spying a herd of zebras in a cow pasture, the Lord sent his rain and satisfied our worn out bodies with His glorious strength.  
A heart-felt thank you to our good friends and supporters, and to the beautiful community that is becoming "Bella Rustica".

Please enjoy more photos...
Holli and Donna, Sistas at Heart, Thompson's Station

One of our favorite bloggers, Beth Lewis, Olde Tyme Marketplace from North Carolina

Beth has such a great eye for display

A must have for a Music City event-
Scott's Blue Rose, Dallas, GA., offered hundreds of boots fitting for "Nashvegas"!

Turning Leaf from West Tennessee and their sweet gypsy abode

Tulip Grove Farm, Lebanon, TN., had tons of industrial chic

A favorite cooling spot at Legacy Farm

Cat's Carpetbags, Atlanta, outfitting Bella Chicks

105 Design Studio, Columbia, TN - amazing reclaimed lighting

Be sure a visit our Facebook page for all the photos!

Ciao for now!

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