Our sign of autumn
Oct 02, 2012 | 410 views | 0 0 comments | 4 4 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Leaves spiraling gently to the ground, an invigorating cool to the air, Big Orange football, a teasing bounce to our gait and the fuzzy comfort of hot soup or spicy chili aren’t the only signs that autumn has arrived.

Another, and frankly one of our favorites, is the Nillie Bipper Creative Arts Festival.

The 45th annual edition of this seasonal tribute to homespun talent, home-bred creativity and hometown living is coming this weekend — both Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the ever-popular Tri-State Exhibition Center.

Not to put too fine a spin on our excitement, but ... we can’t wait!

Brought to the residents of Cleveland and Bradley County, as well as special visitors and guests from around the region, the Nillie Bipper Creative Arts Festival is a gift brightly wrapped and softly packaged by the Cleveland Creative Arts Guild. It comes as no accident that “the Nillie Bipper,” as some friendly voices like to call it, is the longest running outdoor arts and crafts fair in the Ocoee region.

Those who have attended a past Nillie Bipper festival have assuredly returned for many additional visits during the glorious fall season. They do this for many reasons, and one is not because it is a giant in size compared to other festivals. They do it because the Nillie Bipper is a giant among festive hearts. Its biggest fans are those who live to explore the beauty of the great outdoors, the warmth of the human spirit and the camaradarie of friendships and family — all of whom share this common cause.

The Nillie Bipper is much to many.

It is an awakening of the senses for all who have traveled near or far.

It is a reunion of the soul, seemingly a kindred spirit among those who take heart in a simpler time and a calmer place.

It is a moment of thanksgiving when old friends meet, new friendships are born and people of like fabric and shared pleasures come together, if only for this brief reprieve.

It is a gift to the eye for those who understand, and who best appreciate, the hours of labor behind the country arts whose downhome beauty become labors of love.

It is the aroma of food that fills the air and whets the appetite of all who have arrived with a hunger, and any who just want a taste.

It is life in the slow lane where getting anywhere fast is no man’s gain.

It is handmade hobbies that soothe the mind and handcrafted trinkets that tickle the fancy.

It is colors of the rainbow and relaxing shades of nothing grey.

It is kids of all ages, men of all trades and women of warm personality.

It is broad smiles, a tender touch and a long embrace.

It is festive music, lighthearted folly and mild-mannered glee.

It is all that is good and nothing that is bad in a life of innocent pleasures and simple fun.

It is young romance, old ways and country love.

It is a gateway to the past and a fond remembrance of those who brought it home.

It is a slice of American pie, one not so bold in flavor but oh so warm in spirit.

It is hot coffee, cold desserts and buttery popcorn whose taste of salt tastes best to those who are salt of the earth.

It is people. It is passion. It is a season of autumn whose time has come and whose message of hope is long overdue.

We encourage all to experience the Nillie Bipper Creative Arts Festival. It is not big in size. Its attractions do not blanket vast acres.

But it is fun. It is inviting. And it is a slowdown kind of pastime like no other.

It comes to us as a gift from one of Bradley County’s biggest hearts. She is Billie Nipper, an endearing lady whose downhome charm and maternal ways bring deep warmth and southern comfort to all who have crossed per path and to thousands who will forever call her friend.