With Halloween in the rearview mirror, people who are looking for Thanksgiving and Christmas home décor need look no further than Tullahoma High School this weekend.
The school’s annual Fall Craft Festival is scheduled to take place from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 3, in the school’s gymnasium.
According to THS machining teacher Keith Gilliam, the fair will feature crafts and artisan products from approximately 30 vendors, including various décor pieces made by THS students.
“We have 29 vendors that’ll set up, and they’ll have jewelry and crafts … that they make,” Gilliam said, “and then we’re going to be over to one side with all of our stuff.”
The students have been preparing pieces for the last few weeks, Gilliam said, utilizing the equipment in the machine shop housed in the Garrison Wing at THS.
“Every little piece … has been made in our shop,” he said of the various wood and metal pieces that have been collected in his classroom.
The pieces range from wood to metal crafts and screen printed T-shirts and sweatshirts from the digital arts students, Gilliam said.
Wooden plaques with metal silhouettes of the state on them were popular during last year’s craft fair, Gilliam said, so he had the students fabricate several more in order to anticipate the demand at this year’s festival.
Additionally, Gilliam said, he had the welding students make several extra metal Tennessee-shaped pieces due to comments he received last year.
“I had a lot of interest last year in just the metal part, so I thought I’d try to do something for everyone,” he said.
Another item for sale will be wooden “trees” in the shape of triangles, which have been painted white. Gilliam said the idea for the wooden trees is to let people decorate them however they want.
“We’re going to … sell them as they are and let people decorate them - put lights or whatever they want on them,” he said.
One of the lead students on all the wood projects is senior Abigail Oliver, who said putting together the large wooden trees is a team effort.
“It definitely takes a lot of people,” she said. “It usually takes about three or four people to build them.”
Most of the work comes in the form of taking the measurements needed to craft individual pieces of various sizes, she said. And the time it takes to put them together varies depending on their size.
“It really depends on how big they are,” Oliver said.
Other wooden crafts include various types of snowmen shapes, as well as some pre-painted items for lawn decorations.
While there will be some Halloween or fall decorations available, Gilliam said the main focus is Christmas décor.
While the fair will be an opportunity to show off what the students can do in the school’s machine shop, the fair will also serve as a fundraiser for the Career Technical Education (CTE) program at THS, Gilliam said.
Every piece of student artwork sold will help fund the program’s trip to Chattanooga for SkillsUSA State Leadership and Skills Conference in the spring.
The school will take around 16 students, according to Gilliam, to compete with other Tennessee CTE programs.
“It’s a neat thing to see if you’ve never witnessed anything like this,” Gilliam said. “That gives these kids an opportunity they’ve never had before.”
According to digital arts teacher Leanne McCullough, the prices of all the student-made crafts will range depending on the size of the piece and the time and effort put into creating it.
The fair will run from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. in the THS gym on Saturday. A bouncy house will be available for small children, according to a flier for the event. Food will also be available for purchase.
Erin McCullough may be reached at email@example.com.