The day was warm and sunny and the streets were full of thousands of visitors at Nolensville’s returning Buttercup Festival. The weather could not have been more perfect for the first Festival after canceling the last two years due to the pandemic.
“I love this festival,” said craft vendor Shelly Lorey. “It begins the season for me and it is a true ‘dogs and kids’ hometown festival.”
Calling it a ‘dogs and kids’ event is a perfect description because both were out in droves, enjoying the sun, having ice cream and even exploring Mill Creek which runs behind the Feed and Seed, meandering parallel to the street on one side of the festivities.
Taking place along Nolensville Pike in the Old Town section of the city, vendor booths filled with crafts, antiques and lots of comfort food wound in and around the vintage buildings and stores. Lorey had a booth filled with unique pillows she made from old sweaters.
“I have always been artistic,” explained Lorey. “I used to fill books with drawings of animals. Then one day I went to Goodwill and bought a sweater that had accidentally been shrunk. I decided to get out my old animal drawings and do something with the sweater fabric. I made a pillow. I showed it to some friends and family and they liked it so I made some more. Then I decided to do one show with my work and see how things went. Everything has evolved from there. I decided to make smaller pillows and then someone asked me if I could make a mobile and I started making them by request. And that one show became many shows. I have now been making and selling my designs for seven years.”
Another unique booth sold silly putty kits with homemade silly putty and sculpting accessories meant to inspire kids’ imaginations. Still others offered everything from art to jewelry to soy candles to decorated pots to vintage Raggedy Ann and Andy dolls.
Food was plentiful. The Historical Society was selling homemade cobbler with ice cream, which was perfect for a hot day. There was also funnel cake, pizza, gourmet burgers, sno cones, ice cream and cheesecake parfaits in a mason jar. Sweet tea and lemonade flowed as the day got increasingly warm. Everywhere families with kids and dogs were flopping into a shaded area or on a bench under a tree to cool off and catch a breath.
Entertainment was scattered around on different stages, and there was the annual Miss Buttercup and Little Miss Buttercup competitions. This year’s winners were Carrington Graves and Lydia Lord, respectively.
The only glitch is the van that runs between the various parking lots. One group of visitors from Murfreesboro remarked that they sat in the sun for 30 minutes awaiting the shuttle that never came, and there was no schedule to be found. They ended up getting back in their car and driving closer to the event to find a parking place.
Linda Rowland, the founder of the festival, was chatting with some of the ladies manning the Historical Society’s booth and shared the history of the event. Rowland had owned a boutique called Daisy Mae’s and believes she started it in 2001 as a way to increase traffic in the area.
“We are currently working on a written history of the festival to keep at the Historical Society,” one of the ladies from the organization explained. “So many different stories have been told about who, how and when the festival started, but we know it was Ms. Rowland. And it is not 22 years old like they say, because we lost two years due to the pandemic. So, we think it is more like 19 years.”
One other thing about the Festival’s history – it began as a Saturday event, but was rained out one year and moved to Sunday. There were so many more people on Sunday that the vendors requested that it be changed to Sunday permanently. And it was.
The Buttercup Festival may have lost two years of history, but this year’s event was a huge success. It can only get bigger next year.