Hundreds flock to 11th annual Kenan’s Mill Fall Festival

Published 11:39 pm Saturday, November 3, 2012

The Highway 280 Band entertained many at the 11th Annual Kenan’s Mill Fall Festival Saturday. The band played classic bluegrass songs while performing on stage. -- Sarah Cook

VALLEY GRANDE — Sounds of a bluegrass fiddle band and children’s laughter could be heard throughout Kenan’s Mill Saturday as the mill celebrated its 11th annual Fall Festival.

Other than live musical entertainment, vendors also lined the mill grounds selling jams, artwork, handmade scarves and an array of other authentic goods.

Sylvia Smith, chairman of the festival, said the purpose of the day was to simply celebrate the mill and bring the community together in a family friendly environment.

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“It’s really hot out here in the summer and really cold in the winter, so this is the perfect time to have something like this,” Smith said. “This is just a celebration of rural life.”

The first entertainer of the day was 11-year-old Caleb Bryant who is known for charming crowds with his impressive fiddle playing skills.

“He comes with his granddad and plays the fiddle every year,” Smith said of young Bryant, who played a wide variety of classic bluegrass tunes.

After Bryant, the Highway 280 Band took the stage.

Stephen Taylor, who traveled from Montevallo for the festival, said it’s difficult to find good bluegrass music, and that’s why he comes to the festival every year.

“I’ve really enjoyed the day, it’s been so nice and peaceful,” Taylor said. “Music like this can’t be found anywhere else—it’s a real treasure.”

Between listening to music and browsing booths, festival goers also had the opportunity to play with puppies and kittens brought by the Central Alabama Animal Shelter.

Smith said CAAS was just another feature of the festival that helped in ensuring children had a good time.

“We wanted a lot of kids to come out because we feel like most of them have never seen anything like this,” she said. “It’s good for them to form these memories with their family.”

Face painting, games and a children’s train ride was also offered to keep the little ones active and having a good time, Smith said.

“We want this to be a family event, something that’s both fun and educational,” she said. “And we couldn’t have asked for a better day and a better crowd.”

All the proceeds from the festival went to fund general upkeep of the mill and renovations.

“This is a beautiful place,” Smith said. “We’re fortunate to have it.”