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Artisan fair draws big crowd

In the early morning hours, the streets of Selma were crowded with people hoping to get a glimpse of the colorful floats in the city’s Christmas parade.

Soon after, the halls of Sturdivant Hall were also crowded with shoppers hoping to cross a few names off their list at the first Artisans’ Fair.

The sale’s organizer, Patty DeBardeleben, said she was extremely happy with the turnout.

“It’s been fantastic,” she said. “We have had a wonderful crowd and everybody has really enjoyed the show.”

The fair, which was held from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., featured an array of items including hand-carved walking sticks, metal art, cutting boards, hand-sewn dresses, paintings, jewelry, and many other items.

“We’ve been pleased with the vendors that are here, and I think all the vendors are pleased with the sales they have made,” DeBardeleben said. “I think people have been particularly interested in the caning services because nobody else here really does that.”

Because the event was so popular, DeBardeleben said organizers are now hoping to expand the fair for next year.

“Right now, we are just trying to figure out how we can fit more people in for next year,” she said. “We’ll probably put some people in the Robinson Building too.”

Each vendor paid a fee, which raised $1,200 for the upkeep of the house, DeBardeleben said. This money will go a long way toward keeping Sturdivant Hall a popular tourist attraction.

“That is a big help,” she said. “It costs so much to keep this house going with the utilities and the upkeep. We are always looking for new ways to make money.”

Sturdivant Hall, also known as the Watts-Parkman-Gillman Home, is a historic Greek Revival mansion and house museum in Selma.

Completed in 1856, it was designed by Thomas Helm Lee for Col. Edward T. Watts.

It was added to the National Register of Historic Places on Jan. 18, 1973, due to its architectural significance.

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