With clear skies above, members of the community walked around the Tugaloo Pavilion parking lot visiting vendors before making their way to grab a bite to eat Saturday for Little Italy of Tellico Village’s festival and low country shrimp boil dinner.
The festival started at 3 p.m., with vendors exhibiting an assortment of arts and crafts. Tellico Village Vintage Vehicle members showcased cars for passersby.
In total, 19 vendors set up shop. A couple others were scheduled, but Marge Jensen, vendor coordinator, said they backed out.
“She embellishes guitars,” Jensen said, pointing to one of the vendors. “Then we have a couple of people do woodworking, some of it cutting boards and others. Like this fellow here, he does a lot of turning where the wood is turned, and the other one is more flat goods. We have a lady with fuse glass, a couple of ladies with jewelry, one with the wire jewelry and another one with like bangles and things like that. We have a lady here who is the author of a children’s book.”
Jensen said food was prepared by Little Italy and the Shrimp Dock.
Dinner was held in two seating times at 4-6 p.m. and 6-8 p.m., while Vocal Point offered musical entertainment. Larry Wooden, Little Italy co-owner, estimated about 150 tickets were sold.
“We were just a week ago selling about 50 tickets, so we were kind of worried, but then all of a sudden toward the last week it just kind of blossomed,” Wooden said. “Everybody in the Village waits until the last minute.”
Hosting a low country boil has always been in the back of Little Italy co-owner Theresa Wooden’s mind.
“I grew up on the Gulf Coast. We used to have a lot of these shrimp boils,” she said. “It was a good time.”
“Plus, we always go to the Carolinas every year where we always have family over, 30 people over, family, and we’d always have a big family shrimp low country boil,” Larry Wooden said. “So we figure we’re doing the same thing, we’re just doing it on a bigger scale.”
Hopes are to make the gathering an annual event, he said.
“It’s a first-year thing, and you’ve got a ball game tonight, so we got a little competition going on,” Larry Wooden said. “We wanted to run a big tent and put it outside Little Italy, but expense was just too much for the first time.”
A portion of the money raised will go to the Tellico Village Volunteer Fire Department.
“We have people contribute from time to time that just stop by the fire station,” Mike Thornton, TVVFD firefighter and emergency medical technician, said. “Pretty much a large part of our budget is people in Tellico Village that contribute money to the department. So it helps us to do things like fueling the truck, training, our firefighter equipment, our medical equipment to help people. All that pretty much comes from contributions.”