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Image by Vladimir Gladkov



March 22-23, 2024, the charming town of Linden celebrates the 16th Anniversary of the annual Blooming Arts Festival. The event kicks off festival season in Tennessee, and is one of the region’s most popular spring events. Launched in 2009,  when Perry County was experience an economic plight (read more it below), Blooming Arts Festival has grown to feature more than 150 exhibitors, including artisans, musicians and food vendors. The festival attracts more than 10,000 patrons to Linden’s quaint, Southern small town, which boasts a population of just over 1,000.

Linden’s downtown Main Street features wide sidewalks, retro lampposts, restored architecture, and beautifully landscaped trees; the perfect backdrop for showcasing creative arts, crafts and music. Exhibitors include fine art - oil paintings, watercolors, acrylics, clay sculptures and photography. Fine hand-crafted artisans bring stained glass, leatherwork, jewelry, glass, furniture, fiber, quilting and numerous other displays of creativity. Multiple music stages are set-up to accommodate popular regional musicians, many with ties to nearby Nashville, known globally as Music City.

In addition to arts & crafts exhibitors and a full schedule of live music, the festival provides an always-popular Kids Zone, complete with rides, face painting, creative arts and fun activities.

This special two-day event is a perfect time for tourists to journey to Linden, Tenn. to witness the striking beauty of the revitalized downtown and visit with local merchants. Proudly, Linden is home to many arts-based businesses owned by and supporting local artisans.

Blooming Arts Festival is free and open to the public.

The History of Blooming Arts Festival

The History of BAF is an inspiring story of determination and hope in the face of great adversity. The festival was launched at one of Linden and Perry County’s lowest points, when the national media directed a spotlight on the county, suffering from an economic plight of epic proportions: the lowest unemployment rate of any county in the contiguous United States.

Read the original press story below from 2009, for a brief “little engine that could” account of how Blooming Arts Festival came to be. The odds were stacked high against Linden and Perry County, but the late Mayor Jim Azbill, along with a small group of volunteers, hatched a plan. Something is Blooming in a Small Town in Tennessee With the Nation’s Highest Unemployment Rate LINDEN, TN, March 19, 2009 /24-7PressRelease/ -- Recently, the news media has given a great deal of attention to the economic plight of Perry County, Tennessee. The latest figures show that the county, located between Nashville and Memphis, has the highest unemployment rate in the contiguous United States and has brought national attention to their door. So how is this small community coping with this dilemma? The Mayor of Linden, Tennessee has decided to a have a festival. Jim Azbill and a group of volunteers have organized the Blooming Arts Festival that is being held on Saturday, March 21, 2009 (10 am to 5 pm). The festival has been developed to help stimulate the local economy through the arts. While Mayor Azbill is still hopeful of attracting large corporations to create many jobs, he has taken the approach of rebuilding the business community in his downtown door by door. An "arts brand" initiative is in its early stages, and will accomplish a few things: fill vacant storefronts in this once prosperous riverfront town, create jobs, and attract new residents, including corporate executives looking for a vibrant community in which to locate their businesses. With a recent grant secured to redo the downtown area, the Mayor is telling his merchants and residents, "Sometimes things look so grim that we all get in a big funk. Our high unemployment, the high cost of energy and the overall economy of the world are indeed depressing. But, we need to be of good cheer, things are going to get better. No one has a magic wand, but some have the savvy and influence to direct help to problems like ours. Hang on." The Blooming Arts Festival will be a kickoff event for the Linden Arts District, complete with fire, mud, molten metal, chainsaws, free cash, and modern dance! With an outstanding slate of educational events and interactive exhibitions, Linden's Blooming Arts Festival promises a spectacular kaleidoscope of fine art, crafts, and performance that are at once "family friendly" and focused on "audience participation"...while also offering on-the hour-prizes, good shopping and perhaps a bit of "spontaneous artistic goofiness." The festival will feature artist demonstrations in chainsaw sculpture, fused glass, blacksmithing, fiber art, flint knife making, painting, earthen sculpture, modern dance, and music of multiple genres. Exhibiting artists will present wood carved bowls and totem poles; hiking sticks and wood turned bowls; stained glass, weavings, cds and books; jewelry, baskets, quilts and feathers; portraits, photographs, dolls and gourds. Mayor Azbill looks forward to tourists and art enthusiast dropping by to support the festival and says, "A big crowd of visitors are expected to be in town Saturday, nothing picks our spirits up faster than a good visit with friends, neighbors and friends that we haven't yet met." Join the Fun and visit the town of Linden, Tennessee for the Blooming Arts Festival.

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