Jam vendors offer a little bit of everything

Published 10:19 pm Friday, June 25, 2010

The Peach Jam Jubilee saw any and every kind of vendor selling a slew and variety of products from all over the state and elsewhere Friday evening.

Roughly 100 vendors gathered under the hot sun to introduce themselves to the community with their products, many of which were homemade items.

Snow cones, peaches, puppets, peanuts, burgers, jewelry, lemonade and shish kabobs lined the streets as patrons sauntered up and down the streets from booth to booth.

They also found stuffed animals, baked goods, flip-flops, college football paraphernalia and alligators-on-sticks.

Thankfully, heavy rain showers just north of Chilton County spared the area to keep things clear for another Peach Jam, which saw the arrival of several new vendors.

Gilly’s Dancin’ Puppets from Kimberly, about 10 miles north of Birmingham, came for the first time to the Peach Jam Jubilee. Steve Gilbert, owner, said he and his wife, Deloris, usually set up at festivals in and around Birmingham. They tend to stop over at ones like the Whistle Stop in Irondale.

Gilbert and his wife had heard good things about the Clanton festival, so they thought pitching a tent and setting up the puppets couldn’t hurt.

The puppets, marionettes ranging from tigers to roosters, are all handmade. About 20 minutes before the Jam officially went underway, Gilbert liked the looks of what was in store for the evening.

“It looks like a good setup,” he said.

Down less than a block was Plains Peanuts, owned and operated by Ken and Brenda Wilson out of Plains, Ga., just 20 miles south of Columbus.

The Wilsons sell all sorts of peanut products, including sweet peanut brittle. They also offer cashew brittle, hot sauce and several other edible items.

This also marks Plains Peanuts’ first Peach Jam.

“We thought the hours were strange for this kind of festival, so we’d try it out,” Brenda Wilson said. “Our peanut brittle just melts in your mouth.”

They arrived on the scene at approximately 1 p.m. to set up.

Also traveling from outside of Chilton County was William Owen of Heflin. Offering fresh boiled peanuts from Hannah Farms. Owen said this was not the first time he’d sold at the Peach Jam, and it wouldn’t be the last.

“We’ll be back next year,” he said. “I like the crowd here. I do good while I’m here.”

He said what sprinkles the afternoon saw didn’t manage to affect any of the vendors, though it and the clouds helped cool things down a bit.

“That rain didn’t hurt nothing,” he said, moments before selling another plateful of peanuts.

While several unfamiliar vendors crowded the downtown Clanton streets, plenty of faces its residents are used to also joined in on the fun.

Durbin Farms Market just brought in its first batch of Freestone peaches, and owner Danny Jones couldn’t be anymore excited about it. Just as the festival got started, he said they were already seeing solid business.

“So far, so good for us right now,” Jones said, greeting just about everybody who walked by. “We anticipate a large crowd tonight. We’re always on this corner. This is a great event that lets the state know who we are. Chilton County is known for its peach crop.”