When I moved to the Rowan County area over 30 years ago, one of the first things I heard about was the Autumn Jubilee at Dan Nicholas Park. My kids were little then and like most parents I was looking for family-oriented activities to do with them on weekends. We went that October, and I knew then that the Autumn Jubilee would be a yearly event for years to come for us! The children’s activities were plentiful along with the foods and the crafts. Let’s be honest – I love a good craft show and this event is one of the best in our own backyard. I sat down recently with Andrea Baucom of Rowan County Parks & Recreation and Joni Hobbs and Greenspace Connector Ashley Duncan of Rowan County Facilities Management and Parks & Recreation to find out how this event comes together.
This will be the 40th Annual Autumn Jubilee at Dan Nicholas Park this year and the planning starts almost as soon as the last one ends. This is an ongoing project preparing for this event. This year’s event is set for October 5 and 6 from 10:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m. It occurs annually the first Saturday and Sunday in October.
Originally, this event was run by the United Arts Council as an arts and crafts show. Later, due to popularity, it was taken over by the County and currently over 60,000 attend this event rain or shine.
This year, you can plan on seeing over 120 vendors. All crafts at this event are hand-made with no duplicate vendors. That means you can find everything from hand-made soaps, candles, iron works, jewelry, hand-made cutting boards, and more!
Hand-Made Arts & Crafts
I was lucky enough to speak with two vendors participating this year. First, I spoke with Brad Taylor, a Rowan County resident and China Grove Middle School science teacher. Brad crafts hand-made cutting boards and this will be his fourth year participating as a Jubilee vendor. His business, Compass Woodworks Co., will have multiple hand-crafted cutting boards for sale. He will also be taking orders for personalized cutting boards. According to Brad, “The Autumn Jubilee was the first show I ever did!” He has continued going to different shows and even won the “Best of Show” award at the Southern Christmas Show in Charlotte last year. I asked Brad what he liked about the Jubilee and he said, “I enjoy meeting all the people that attend and speaking with the other vendors that participate.” He likes his location in the wooded area of the park and said, “I enjoy how it smells… it’s like you are at the fair!”
Next, I spoke with a first-time vendor this year at the Jubilee, Mitzi Everhart, who is also a Rowan County resident. Mitzi owns Sunny Stone Treasures and sells beaded jewelry. She relayed to me that, “I’m really excited to be included with these talented artists and crafters!”. She also said, “It should be a great weekend, and a great time to hopefully pick up some special, hand-made holiday gifts!” I like the way she thinks because I like to do some of my Christmas shopping at the Jubilee too!
Entertainment For All
There is entertainment galore at the Jubilee along with all the fun everyday activities at the park for all ages! So, let’s start with the Kids Zone!
This year for the kids you will be able to find the following: a bungee jump, a climbing wall, Dakota & Friends: a “Live” dinosaur experience, a magician, knights fighting, face painting, sand art, pumpkin painting, wax hands, a Jurassic inflatable obstacle course, a soap bubble circus, and a mime! The Kid’s Zone will be located at the Splash Pad in the park and there will be tickets available for sale. The Kid’s Zone has always been a fun area that my kids used to love to visit. We always had a painted pumpkin or two on our front porch from the Jubilee. I may have even painted one myself! As always, farmer Brian Howard supplies at least 1,400 of his great pumpkins to this fun event every year!
There is always great entertainment on the stage at the Autumn Jubilee and this year there will be plenty! Be sure to make note of the following times so that you get to the “Outdoor Theater” across from the parking lot and see the following talent on each day!
Saturday, October 6:
11:30 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. Mailvis (Rowan County’s own mailman during the day and Elvis impersonator at night)
12:00 – 2:00 p.m. 20 Ride (Zac Brown Band Tribute Band)
2:00 – 2:45 p.m. Mailvis
3:00 – 5:00 p.m. Too Much Sylvia (Beach & Top 40)
Sunday, October 7:
10:30 – 11:30 a.m. Praise Grass Band (Bluegrass Gospel)
11:30 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. Mailvis
12:00 – 2:00 p.m. Motel Soap (Classic Rock/Pop)
2:00 – 2:45 p.m. Mailvis
3:00 – 5:00 p.m. Kameron Marlowe (Top 24 on NBC’s The Voice)
On top of having a huge array of vendors and entertainment there over the weekend – can we talk about the food?! I certainly have some favorite food memories from the early years of this event and thankfully most of them are still there! Can you say “chicken on a stick”? How about homemade ice cream that’s cranked right there on the property? There will be plenty of varieties to suit every taste with 15 vendors there this year! There is something for everyone so go ahead and pick out your favorites below.
- WOWZA BBQ
- Filipino-American Society
- Happy’s Farm
- St. Matthews
- Mike & Deb Old Fashion Homemade Ice Cream
- Taco Trolley
- Coburn UMC
- Carolina Kettle Korn
- Hoff’s Grill
- Bavarian Nut Hut
- Millbridge Ruritan
- Gigi’s Southern Fried Pies
- Kyle’s Concessions
While you are wondering around the park, be on the lookout for Heritage Village. In this village area, you will be able to find bee keepers, soap makers, a blacksmith, and a wood carver. There is also a “selfie” photo station this year to capture the perfect picture of your day at the Jubilee.
I stopped and asked a few Rowan County residents if they have attended the Autumn Jubilee before.
Nakesha Heaggins of Salisbury mentioned she had taken some residents from RHA Group Homes to enjoy the Jubilee. “They really enjoyed walking around, seeing all the people there, and looking at all of the activities. It was beautiful with all the trees turning too!”
Jim Howden of Enchoville said he had been and “it was really a fun, family event!”
Teresa Sharpless of Salisbury,shared with me that she “loves going to the jubilee!” She said, “it’s always a lot of fun!”
A Few Things to Know
When you are making plans to attend the Autumn Jubilee here are a few things that you want to keep in mind:
- No Pets
- Dan Nicolas Park is tobacco free and alcohol free.
- BRING CASH! There will be an ATM available and vendors may accept cards as well, but you may want to have cash in case the card readers do not work.
- Consider taking Stokes Ferry Road to Agner Road for an easier route into the Jubilee.
- Once you get into Dan Nicolas Park, there will be shuttle hay rides running all day long on both days.
So Many to Thank
In addition to the hard work of these three ladies I spoke about earlier, there are others that they wanted to thank as well for making Autumn Jubilee all that it is for our County.
Thanks to the Rowan County Sheriff’s Department and the Rowan County Rescue Squad. Specials thanks to Union Lutheran Church for helping with parking and to Rockwell Farms for providing beautiful mums each year.
Lastly, many thanks to the Maintenance Staff at Dan Nicholas that makes sure everything runs smoothly before, during, and after this fun event.
Well, I don’t know about you folks, but I’m excited that fall is right around the corner ushering in some cooler weather and of course the obligatory pumpkin spice everything! Fall also means to me that Autumn Jubilee is right around the corner! Try and find me there! I’ll be wondering around in and out of the vendors, the food area, and watching the kids have a blast like my kids use to do when they were little! Start your family tradition this year at Dan Nicholas Park and you will be reminiscing about the good times year after year just like me!
Dan Nicholas Park is located at 6800 Bringle Ferry Road, Salisbury, NC 28146. If you have any questions about the Autumn Jubilee, give them a call at 704-216-7800 and they will be happy to help you!