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Groups of people shopped on Saturday morning as the last leaves of fall landed on Broadway Avenue, where nearly 100 stalls set up for a Saturday celebration of small businesses.

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

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

A group of around 95 craft, small business and food truck vendors have set up shop along the route.

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

He said they both had been doing similar crafts since they were kids.

Emily Bales and her 16-month-old son Tommy ran their fingers through the soft thread that hung from the bottom of Raby’s dreamcatchers as they walked past to admire the vibrant colors.

Raised in Maryville, Bales was visiting relatives in the area over Thanksgiving weekend, as she and her family currently live in Philadelphia, PA.

Susie Ledger sat by a kerosene heater as many strolled around and headed to her booth, some choosing one of her crafts to take home.

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

Ledger said she chose wreath and bow making as a hobby when she retired, although she still loved the craft.

Jackson Rader started his Ball Budz business when COVID-19 sent him – and many others – home while in school. He said he had started doing a lot of digital artwork.

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

He drew over 450 designs, “across pop culture” – DC Comics, Marvel and Disney, and then printed them on key chains, stickers and bookmarks.

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

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

MDA board chairman Aaron Killian said this year has brought the biggest turnout since the holiday craft market launched six years ago with around 20 vendors and added that it This was the biggest Saturday event for small businesses in Blount County. .

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

With Black Friday deals keeping national brand retail stores busy, the Marketplace allows community members to support the businesses of people who live a block or two away.

Not only is it one of the busiest days of the year for downtown businesses like Bill Cox Furniture, but Killian is hoping it will encourage people to come back for shopping or dining downtown throughout. year round.

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