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Spring Garden Fair returns to Exchange Place | art and entertainment

A true celebration of heritage farming and traditional gardening, the Spring Garden Fair at Exchange Place Living History Farm is making its long-awaited return after a two-year COVID-imposed hiatus.

A favorite of area gardeners, novices and experts alike, the 36th edition will be open to the public on Saturday, April 30 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday, May 1 from noon to 5 p.m. at the farm, located at 4812 Orebank Road in Kingsport.

The region’s oldest garden fair, the Spring Garden Fair will feature thousands of plants for sale, focusing on heritage and native ones, from old favorites to rare and hard-to-find varieties. Growers will offer perennials, annuals, trees and shrubs, with an emphasis on herbs, native and traditional plants.

Sharing their knowledge of plant selection and care, Master Gardeners and other gardening experts will be on hand throughout the weekend to answer questions and make recommendations. Additionally, folk and garden artisans will also be found throughout the grounds with their unique plant and garden related arts and crafts, while other vendors will offer sales of chicks, bird feeders, handmade soaps, pottery, tree chimes and more, including a wide variety of food options.

True to its mission, Exchange Place will offer snippets of 19th century life at almost every corner. The farm’s Cotswold sheep will have their hair cut in the ritual shearing of the sheep. TJ DeWitt will complete this necessary and fun task on Saturday between 10 a.m. and noon, then again between 1 and 3 p.m. If he doesn’t do it on Saturday, he will complete the task on Sunday between 1 and 3 p.m.

The Overmountain Weavers Guild will then take that wool and carry on their long-standing “Sheep to Shawl” tradition of carding (cleaning, separating, and straightening) the wool, spinning it into yarn, and weaving that yarn into scarves and, perhaps, other beautiful and wearable yarns. articles. Everyone is invited to help with the carding.

The Overmountain Weavers Guild will also feature prominently at the Burow Museum, with an exhibit on the textile traditions of the Appalachian region. The highlight will be the vintage knitting patterns from the mid-19th century that were discovered by Exchange Place’s own Suzanne Burow.

Also on display will be two ancient Appalachian beam looms, rarely seen today, which have been recently restored and will be in use as guild members weaving curtains which, when completed, will hang in the historic Preston House.

A special feature of this year’s Spring Garden Fair will be an appearance by Jennifer Hanlon. A multimedia artist with a focus on fiber, the Johnson City resident discovered needle felting a couple of years ago and will offer a workshop on Sunday from 1-4 p.m. Needle felting is a therapeutic art that involves pinning Repeatedly a special type of needle in a piece of wool to stiffen it and give it the desired shape.

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The cost of this workshop is $65, which includes all materials and admission to the festival. A minimum of three people is needed to register (adults only please, as dry felting needles are sharp). You can register at Payment will be collected at the workshop.

As the restoration of the home kitchen continues, Eden’s Ridge Hearth Cookery Society will create the types of foods popular in the mid-19th century in the Cook’s Cabin and, it is hoped, also using the bread oven.

Junior trainees will be in a variety of locations performing tasks and providing information about pre-war farm life in Northeast Tennessee. They will also host a Tennessee Dancing Gourd “spin-off” competition near Cook’s Cabin, while their Old-Time Band will perform during a Maypole Dance. This ceremony has its origin in antiquity and celebrated the fertility associated with spring. It was revived in the 19th century, and everyone is invited to welcome in the season on Sunday at 2 p.m.

A wide variety of hands-on kid-friendly activities will be found throughout the grounds, and youngsters will surely want to say hello to the resident animals, including Delilah (the cow), Jenny (the donkey), and Chance (the horse), as well as the many sheep from Exchange Place.

As always, music will fill the air during the Spring Garden Fair, as a host of local talent is scheduled to perform throughout the weekend.

If you get hungry or thirsty, baked goods, lunches, drinks, and snacks (including funnel cakes and boil corn) will be available.

Admission is $5 for anyone 12 and older and free for everyone else. All proceeds from the event help with the restoration and upkeep of the site, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Spring Garden Fair strives to be as green as possible with recycling, composting, and reuse. Visitors are encouraged to bring their own used plant containers and nursery pots to recycle/reuse.

Exchange Place is a volunteer-run, not-for-profit living history farm, educational facility, and regional attraction that seeks to preserve, protect, interpret, and manage the history, heritage, and artifacts associated with mid-century farm life. 19th century in northeast Tennessee. For more information, call 423-288-6071 or visit

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