The Rincon Noonday Lions Club of Effingham County has turned over its Christmas festival to First Baptist Church of Rincon to organize.
Beginning this year, associate pastor Dr. Bill Gammon will organize the event, now named the Dickens Craft Festival in reference to author Charles Dickens. And he’s taking it into a new direction and trying to get the word out well in advance to line up participants.
“I want a festival atmosphere,” he said.
The Lions Club will still be in charge of the annual parade; the arts and crafts festival portion will be conducted by the First Baptist Church of Rincon.
The focus of the event will be on food and high-quality arts and crafts. He encourages artists to participate. Ribbons will be given out for the best artwork.
Booths will cost $20, however, they will be free to churches and non-profits.
The proceeds will go to the church’s international mission work.
Dickens festivals are held throughout the U.S. and feature a variety of activities from arts and crafts to carolers to participants in costume.
In light of declining attendance in previous years, Dr. Gammon felt that some changes were needed to revive the annual event.
Having lived in Williamsburg, Va., and Tallahassee, Fla., where Christmas is a big deal, he is familiar with very successful festivals.
Yet he does not proclaim to be some kind of expert organizer.
“Ain’t never done this before,” he laughed.
However, he is clear on what he wants explaining that he’s trying to create an enjoyable environment whereby attendees can browse and shop after the Christmas parade.
“I want to fill the whole parking lot up with vendors,” he remarked.
He believes that having the festival on Highway 21 will attract crowds due to the visibility it affords. Before, it was held behind Rincon Elementary.
“I really believe it can be a neat event,” Dr. Gammon said.
The festival will begin at 10 a.m. on Nov. 17 and is expected to end at 4 p.m. Participants have until Nov. 1 to apply for a booth. Applications may be picked up at the church office at 201 E. 6th St. For more information, call Dr. Gammon at 826-5536.