The Cranberry Mountain Nature Center is known for being home to a variety of snakes, its botanical gardens and as an information center for visitors, but on the last Sunday in September, the center becomes a festival ground for the Cranberry Shindig.
Crafters, farmers and creators of all kinds gather to share their wares with visitors, as musicians and cloggers entertain the crowd.
Some vendors demonstrate as well as sell their crafts.
The Willey family, of Craigsville – Carl, Annie and David – make apple cider and had their apple press with them to show the crowd the process they use to make the sweet nectar.
“We’ve probably made apple cider for the past twenty years,” Carl said. “We’ve got a couple small orchards. We enjoy it and people enjoy watching how it’s done. The kids enjoy seeing how apple juice is made.”
The family first attended the Shindig four years ago and have made it a yearly trip since.
Like the Willey’s, Greenbrier County’s Judy Loudermilk wasn’t content just sitting at her table with her crafts. She brought her spinning wheel to make wool yarn.
“I think I got this thing in 2005,” she said of her spinning wheel. “I had two guys that I used to work with who wanted hats so they talked me into starting to do this. So far, I just make hats out of the yarn I make.”
Loudermilk said she enjoys the Shindig because it is a friendly get-together.
“Where can you go to a place like this and you can turn your kids loose?” she said. “This is just very laid back and a safe environment for anybody to come to. The people will talk to you. They’re not rude. You can walk up to anybody and start a conversation.”
Fellow crafter Sage Blankenship, of Webster County, wasn’t demonstrating, but he did have plenty of woodworking for sale, especially spoons.
“One time I made this spoon with a flat end so you can scrape the bottom of the bowl,” he said. “A couple friends saw it and they wanted one, and their friends saw it and they wanted one, and here I am. I’ve been woodworking for the past five years.”
After Blankenship retired, he needed a hobby and turned to the craft.
“I was bored,” he said, laughing. “I could only sit around and do nothing for so long.”
Along with crafts and homemade foods, visitors were treated to musical entertainment by Joe Nutter and his band, and the fancy footwork of the Old Dominion Cloggers.
Suzanne Stewart may be contacted at email@example.com