For those hoping to embrace the spirit of the North Pole this season, there was no better place to look than Franklin's very own Small Town Christmas celebration.

Saturday morning's events began at 9 a.m. with the opening of the 8th annual Hometown Holiday Craft Bazaar. The Methodist Center was filled with vendors selling a variety of wares and gift ideas for everyone. Handcrafted items, boutique clothing, home and holiday d├ęcor, woodworking, primitives, jewelry, cutlery, personalization and much more was available for purchase.

Jim and Elaine Turner of Turner Valley Produce and Soaps returned again this year to supply shoppers with their unique products. Elaine Turner and daughter Lindsey make homemade soaps, bath bombs, lotions, potpourri, and orange rings once their fresh produce sales fizzle out. They look forward to this annual market and have attended every year due to the large number of shoppers and sales they make.

Some vendor sales benefited organizations and training such as that of Sinking Creek Woodworking. Proceeds from sales of wooden ornaments created by the Warren County school woodworking classes returned to the classroom. Other vendors such as the 4-H Sewing Club, also sold wares that benefited their organization. All while the Simpson County 4-H Club sold homemade soups, sandwiches and dessert for those desiring a full belly and to help out a good cause.

While many of the vendors are returning vendors, there were new ones too. Donna

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Hayden of Wind and Fire was new this year. She brought her beautiful glass wind chimes, tiki torches and acrylic paintings. Reacting to a portable fan, the wind chime's melodic notes resonated continuously throughout the building.

Outside the Methodist Center Christmas music wafted through the Simpson County courtyard as Franklin merchants were open to receive shoppers, too. New stores such as Cozy Corner Gifts, Willowhill Market, Wildflower Boutique, FunKY Town and the Mustard Seed Market to name a few, among staples such as the Cedars, and Franklin Sporting Goods were all sporting holiday cheer and beautiful displays.

Anticipation builders such as speaker Felicia Bland, of the Kiwanis Club of Franklin-Simpson, followed by a welcoming message by State Attorney General Andy Beshear kicked off the "Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree" activities, which included free hot chocolate and cookies, photos with Santa, Rudolph, Frosty and the Christmas Wookie and the All Starz Dancers preceded the parade hosted by Gallery on the Square Director Lisa Deavers and F-S Renaissance Director Amy Ellis.

This year's Grand Marshall was PGA Pro Golfer Kenny Perry, with special tribute to the 2018 State Champions, the F-S High School Football Team. The parade included floats from several churches and organizations, tractors, horses, vintage cars and fire trucks bringing joy to the crowded streets of Franklin.

After the parade, the festivities moved to the bandstand for the lighting of the Christmas tree and performances by The Restless - Rachal and Emily Schmieder, Brittany Bagwell, Gary Wielage and the Franklin-Simpson Middle School Chorus. The Kiwanis club offered the presentations of parade awards with the Franklin Garden Club taking top honors this year.

Following the activities on the square, the Franklin-Simpson Community Arts Council held a free community Christmas concert at the Roxy Theatre at 7 p.m.

The musical stylings and vocals of our various local talented artists brought more holiday vibes to spectators, reminding the audience that there is no place like home for the holidays.

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