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‘A tradition:’ Autumn Jubilee shines in 39th year

By Rebecca Rider

SALISBURY — Autumn Jubilee kicked off its 39th year with balmy temperatures and plenty of shade from overcast skies. The annual festival, held at Dan Nicholas Park, generally attracts about 60,000 people during its two-day run; but Events Coordinator Andrea Baucom said that, with the weather, she’s anticipating more.

“This year we’re expecting huge crowds,” she said.

Attendance has been poor the last three years due to weather, and the festival was cancelled in 2015 due to heavy rains. This year, however, Baucom and other organizers are hoping for a comeback. The event features live music, entertainment, good food and handmade crafts. Selling handmade items has been a prominent feature of Autumn Jubilee since day one.

“It kind of individualizes every item,” Baucom said.

This year, the festival showcases 130 vendors, along with music by Heart Breaker, Too Much Sylvia, Darrel Harwood and Mailvis. The Kid’s Zone features Dakota and Friends: A live dinosaur experience. It’s a good mix, Baucom said.

“This year I think we’ve got the best variety we’ve ever had,” she said.

But Autumn Jubilee is more than just a craft fair — it’s a tradition for many Rowan County residents. Wanda Kluttz said she’s been to just about every Jubilee.

“I like to come every year,” she said. “It’s a fun time for me. …I don’t know when I haven’t been to Autumn Jubilee.”

One of the things that keeps her coming back is that Jubilee is a chance to catch up with old friends. Kluttz said she often runs into former classmates, or people she doesn’t usually see at other events. It’s “a wonderful time.”

“I’m just so glad they have this for the community,” she said.

Dolores Russell and her family meet each year at Jubilee, taking the time as a sort of reunion.

“It’s just a thing you go to,” she said of the festival.

But it was definitely worth the trip. Russell said she enjoyed seeing what people made and what they came up with.

“It’s just cute to see the unique things that they make,” she said.

Carol Clifford and her husband moved to Rowan County two and a half years ago. In that time, they’ve fallen in love with Dan Nicholas Park and Autumn Jubilee.

“We’ve come every year since,” Clifford said.

According to Baucom, there’s something for everyone at Autumn Jubilee — which is one reason it’s flourished for so long in the community.

“It is a tradition,” she said.

Jubilee will open today at 10 a.m. and run until 6 p.m. Parking and admission are free. Pets are not allowed at Autumn Jubilee. For more information, call 704-216-7803.

Autumn Jubilee is sponsored by Cheerwine, Bojangles, Novant Health, Bath Fitter, Atrium Health, Carolina Home Remodeling and Gerry Wood Auto Group.

Contact reporter Rebecca Rider at 704-797-4264. 


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