The first event since the COVID-19 shut down attracts nearly 1,000 people for a day of food, fun and fellowship.
JACKSON, Tenn., July 20, 2022 /PRNewswire-PRWeb/ -- The inaugural Casey Jones Village Festival attracted nearly 1,000 people Saturday, July 9, 2022, making it the first large outdoor event held on its campus since the COVID-19 shut down more than two years ago. The event was also the first since the passing of second-generation owner Clark Shaw following his battle with COVID-19 in late 2020. Third-generation owner Brooks Shaw and his team planned this free event as a day for guests to visit the campus for food, fun and fellowship.
"I'm very proud of my son," Brooks Shaw's Old Country Store co-owner Juanita Shaw said. "To watch him where his dad was at one time is such an amazing thing. He plans things like his daddy did. I think Clark would be pleased, and seeing the people here lets us know we're on the path to where God wants us to be."
The event was co-sponsored by the Jackson-Madison County Bicentennial Commission, which will hold its grand finale of events Aug. 12 and Aug. 13 (jacksonmadison200.com). Among the many sponsors that made the day possible include WNBJ, Forever Communications, US Foods and Coca-Cola.
"The support we received from the community, our sponsors and guests was outstanding this year," Brooks Shaw said. "We plan to build on what we started by adding more activities, vendors and opportunities to showcase West Tennessee talent."
Shaw is planning to host the second annual Casey Jones Village Festival in the fall of 2023.
"During the festival, some of the most important things happened — people were able to connect, families spent some quality time together and new friendships were formed," he said.
Many of the guests at the festival had their choice of keepsakes from the Jackson-Madison County Bicentennial Commission and received a passport for the day. The goal was to collect four stamps from each area of the village — The Casey Jones Home and Railroad Museum, The Farm at Casey Jones Village, Art in the Village Gallery and The Old Country Store — and the sweet prize for visiting all of the areas was a free scoop of Blue Bell ice cream from Miss Anne's Ice Cream Shoppe.
Twelve-year-old Jeremiah Alexander, of Paris, Tennessee, chose a scoop of strawberry, as he explained to his grandmother his plans for the new blank canvas he had purchased while visiting the Art in the Village Gallery.
"My mom used to paint, and I like painting," Alexander said. He and his younger brother, Jamarion, 10, also enjoyed petting the animals at Susie Cole's Playhouse Petting Zoo and Specialty Animals at the festival. Cole brought about 20 animals including a llama, a baby kangaroo named "Kansas," several goats and a ring-tailed lemur.
"We like to see these kinds of activities in Jackson," Jamie Sprague said. She, along with her husband, Nick, and 8-month-old daughter, Chloe, stopped at the festival Saturday morning. "It's great getting to meet local people, and how often can you hold and feed a baby kangaroo?"
The Neely family's first stop was the Casey Jones Railroad Museum. Newcomers to Jackson by way of Charleston, South Carolina, Amy Neely decided the festival was a great way to learn about the community.
"We moved here to be closer to family," she said. "When I heard about this, I told everyone that this is what we're doing Saturday morning."
Guests who were in the mood for shopping had their pick of local vendors who were selling handmade jewelry, dog treats, leather goods, clothing and more.
"I've had a good day in sales," Cari Hayes said, of CH Beads out of Lexington, Tennessee. Hayes specializes in handmade earrings and other trinkets. "Everyone has been so kind and welcoming."
Social media feedback has also been positive for the inaugural event.
"We really enjoyed it; thanks for having the festival!" Roanna Gwen Hart wrote in her Facebook post. "We let a young man from Georgia, who was by himself, sit with us because we didn't want him to have to wait on a table. He was a fine Christian, and our fellowship with him was great. We consider him a new friend for life. He plans on coming back in September with his new bride and meeting us again at the restaurant. So the festival had a lot of great things, and making new friends was pretty awesome too!"
Those interested in seeing photos from this year's festival in addition to plans for future Casey Jones Village Festivals can visit and follow http://www.facebook.com/caseyjonesvillagefestival.
Brooks Shaw's Old Country Store has been in business for more than 55 years. With about 100 team members employed, they serve more than half a million residents and tourists each year. Built around its expansive Southern-soul buffet, Brooks Shaw's Old Country Store serves local, national and international guests in an atmosphere filled with historic charm and modern updates. It also includes Miss Anne's Ice Cream Parlor and a Southern Gift Shop. The campus includes Casey Jones Home and Railroad Museum, The Farm at Casey Jones Village, Art in the Village Gallery and The Old Country Store. More information is available at facebook.com/caseyjonesvillagefestival, instagram.com/oldcountrystorecjv and caseyjones.com.
Dawn Bramblett, Old Country Store, 731-608-7650, firstname.lastname@example.org
SOURCE Casey Jones Village Festival