Downtown Maryville Holiday Craft Market

A large crowd walked up and down Broadway Avenue in Downtown Maryville on Saturday for the sixth annual Holiday Craft Market. Ninety craft vendors and small businesses from the area set up booths for holiday shopping.

Bundles of people shopped on Saturday morning as fall’s last leaves landed on Broadway Avenue, where nearly 100 booths had set up for a Small Business Saturday celebration.

Small Business Saturday, the day after Black Friday, is a movement to push people to shop stores local to them.

The Maryville Downtown Association has simultaneously hosted the Holiday Craft Market for the past three Small Business Saturdays.

A group of about 95 craft vendors, small businesses and food trucks set up along the road.

Tony and Patricia Raby from Friendsville had a booth for the third year in a row. Tony does the woodwork while his wife makes the jewelry and dream catchers.

He said they’ve both been making crafts of the like since they were children.

Emily Bales and her 16-month-old son, Tommy, ran their fingers through the soft thread that hung from the bottoms of Raby’s dream catchers as they passed by to admire the vibrant colors.

Raised in Maryville, Bales was visiting relatives in the area during Thanksgiving weekend since she and her family currently live in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Susie Ledger sat by a kerosene heater while many strolled by and peaked into her booth, some choosing one of her crafts to take home.

Susie Q Designs was one of many booths that sold Christmas decorations.

Ledger said she picked up wreath and bow making as a hobby when she retired, although she has always liked crafts.

Jackson Rader started his business Ball Budz when COVID-19 sent him — and many others — home during college. He said he began doing a lot of digital artwork.

One day, Rader made a cartoon graphic of a personified tennis ball. “And I thought, ‘hey, he’s pretty cool ... wonder what he would look like as Harry Potter?’”

He’s drawn over 450 designs, “all across pop culture” — DC Comics, Marvel and Disney, then printed them on key chains, stickers and bookmarks.

Rader hopes to do Ball Budz full-time after he graduates from college in May.

“We’ll see where the path goes for me,” he said.

President of the Board of Directors for MDA, Aaron Killian, said this year brought the largest turnout they’ve seen since the Holiday Craft Market started six years ago with about 20 vendors and added that it is the largest Small Business Saturday event in Blount County.

Killian said that it has become a staple for Blount County on one of the most popular holiday shopping days of the year.

With Black Friday deals keeping nationally branded retail stores busy, the market allows community members to support the businesses of people who live a block or two over.

Not only is it one of the busiest days of the year for downtown businesses like Bill Cox Furniture, but Killian hopes it will encourage people to come back and shop or eat downtown throughout the year.

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