New festival highlights local resurgence of "cottage" businesses

Spring always heralds new beginnings. And this year, the season comes with a brand-new springtime festival.

The Cottages of Spring Mountain festival will be held on Saturday, May 8, at the Spring Mountain Community Center in Fairview, aimed at showcasing the entrepreneurial spirit and endeavors of area residents involved in cottage industries. The term "cottage industry" references a time before modern factories, when products and services were home-based and distinctive rather than factory-based and mass-produced.

Partly due to growing concerns about our environment, partly because of the current economic climate, cottage industries are experiencing a renaissance everywhere—and the Asheville area is no exception.

"Hopefully our efforts will benefit the local entrepreneurs and educate [locals] about the richly varied goods and services available right in our community," says Carolyn Smith, the community center's co-president.

The Spring Mountain Community Center (807 Old Fort Road) serves residents of Fairview's Spring Mountain community and beyond. There's a two-story building, picnic pavilion, and a paved fitness track through a park-like setting, all of which help the meet its goals of enhancing neighbor relationships and improving the health and welfare of their community.

Smith hopes to have about 20 to 30 cottage-industry vendors at the event. To date, exhibitors include jewelry makers, metal workers, textile artists and painters, as well as farmers selling goods like jams and preserves. Area bakers will offer special Mother's Day cakes for sale, and attendees also will find booths filled with flea-market, estate-sale and collectible items.

While supporting the efforts of local artisans and entrepreneurs is the free festival's main goal, it's also a great excuse for locals to get outdoors and mingle.

The family-friendly event will have , and food and beverages for sale.

Smith calls the festival is the perfect chance to "enjoy a walk in our park, meet friends and neighbors, and pick up a unique gift or two for the special women in your life."

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