Organizers in Coker Creek are preparing
for one of Monroe County's largest annual festivals.
The 43rd annual Autumn Gold
Festival is scheduled for Saturday, Oct. 13, and Sunday, Oct. 14, at
a new location. The Autumn Gold Festival brings crafters, artists,
food vendors, entertainers and more to the Coker Creek Community.
Previously held on the grounds of Coker
Creek Village, the festival will take over the grounds of Coker Creek
Elementary School and the nearby Ruritan Club, for this year's event.
The event it the only fundraiser of the year for the Coker Creek
"The main change is the move," said
Chairman Ralph Murphy. "It's unreal what all you have to change
after 43 years of being in one place. But we think it's going to be
Murphy said the extended seasons at
Coker Creek Village have made it harder to organize and plan the Gold
Festival for that location.
"It worked well there for 43 years,
but it was time. The Ruritan Club joins the school so we're right at
home there," said Murphy.
A rumored concern about the new
location from attendees has been parking. But, Murphy isn't worried.
"Parking will be fine," said
Murphy. "We have traffic set to come in just off Highway 68 and go
right into the parking area. When guests leave, they'll go out the
back side so you won't be fighting traffic in and out."
At the festival, visitors can try their
hand at a variety of activities, sample the different eateries,
purchase gifts and mementos from vendors, and try gold panning.
"We have a club member that is
handling that this year," said Murphy. "He'll have dirt there
that actually has gold in it. You can buy a bag and pan it out. It'll
show gold; I guarantee it."
Organizers are anticipating between 70
and 100 artists and crafters to be in attendance. Vendor applications
must be approved in advance of the festival. For more information
about booths and vending, call Greta at 423-261-2242 or e-mail
"At the new location, we can put
exhibitors around the walking trail and everyone can stay on the
pavement, no matter if there's mud from rain," said Murphy.
By having the Gold Festival on the
school's campus, the Ruritan Club will also be able to utilize their
"Food will be served out of the
dining hall in the main Ruritan Club building," said Murphy. "We're
going to have inside facilities to sit down and eat, or guests can
take their food outside and sit under the trees."
In addition to using the building for
food, the Ruritan Club will also be able to use their own stage,
located directly behind the building, for the annual queen contest
and for the entertainment.
A highlight of the annual festival is
the crowning of the Autumn Gold Festival Queen. This year's queen
contest will be at 1 p.m. on Sunday of the festival, where the
festival will crown a queen, junior queen, princess and doll
Costumes for the queen contest can be
from any era of American heritage. Judges will select the winners
based on authentic, old-fashioned costumes, accessories, poise and
There will be a winner and two
runner-ups from each of the four categories. The contest is open to
any girl, no matter where she is from or how old she is. There is no
charge to participate in the contest.
Contestants can pre-register for the
competition by calling Wanda Murphy at 423-261-2236, or they can
register at the festival. All contestants must be registered no later
than 12:30 p.m. on Sunday, Oct. 14.
Each afternoon of the festival from 2
to 4 p.m., live entertainment will take the stage to perform. This
year's line-up includes Southern Class on Saturday and Rocky Flatts
Adult tickets for the festival are $3
and children tickets are $1. Children ages six and under are free.
Gates usually open around 9:30 a.m.
Festival proceeds help the Coker Creek
Ruritan Club sponsor community groups, such as the local Boy and Girl
Scout Troops and the area fire department. In addition, the funds
help those in the community and provide three scholarships each year
to graduating students from the Coker Creek area.
"People don't realize sometimes what
our organization does," said Murphy. "The community has always
helped support us and we've always supported the community."
Murphy used the fundraiser for Brooklyn
Shaw, who has childhood cancer, as an example.
"Where else in the world can you
raise $20,000 for one little girl in one night?" said Murphy. "The
community here did it."
There are no paid positions within the
Ruritan Club and all funding goes back into the community.
"It's a club effort," said Murphy.
For more information, contact Murphy at
email@example.com | 337-7101