Footloose in the Foothills

Double the fun?

Footloose in the Foothills Holiday Shopping Extravaganza kicked off its inaugural year in 2007 with great crowds and shopping fun at Preservation Plaza. This year they are expanding to two downtown venues.

Footloose in the Foothill is set for 5 to 10 p.m. on Thursday, Dec. 4, at Preservation Plaza and the Capitol Theater. The shopping evening features vendors in arts, crafts, jewelry, clothing and home parties and is a fundraiser for the Blount County Senior Citizens Home Assistance Service. SCHAS is a non-profit organization that provides services to help seniors stay in their homes rather than go to nursing homes. Judy Timbs, Blount County director, said the first Footloose in the Foothills in 2007 was tremendously successful.

“That’s why we chose to go with two places this year,” Timbs said. “Last year we had it only in Preservation Plaza and there were over 900 people who came through, and it got crowded.”

One $10 ticket gets the shopper in at both places.

“When you buy a $10 ticket to get in, it is a fundraiser for a most worthy cause, and you get an armband that lets you in both places for one price,” she said.

Shoppers will see vendors selling everything from pottery, art and jewelry to men and women’s fashions with vendors that range from Café Fern coffee to Boyd-Thomas Clothing. “You name it, we have it,” Timbs said.

Sponsors for the event include BankEast, Roger Boring Construction, Blount Today, Charles and Travis Sparks Excavating, Miles Family Restaurant, Covenant Health, Lowes Drug Store and Universal Door Fasteners.

Timbs said 95 percent of the vendors are crafters. “We have some beautiful, beautiful things. There are crafters who make wreaths, candy, pottery, knitted goods. We are also selling food this year, which is a new thing,” she said.

The Senior Citizens Home Assistance Service is a non-profit organization funded by state, local and United Way contributions. “We have been here 22 years,” Timbs said. “We have been very successful in keeping seniors in their homes longer.”

Caregivers with the organization work with clients and do such things as shopping, housekeeping, bathing, paying bills, running errands and even more for handicapped seniors, said Timbs. When there is a point where clients must have the services of a nursing home, they assist with the transition. “I’m not naïve,” said Timbs. “I know nursing home are necessary, but not until you have no other choice.”

Timbs said she has been with Senior Citizens Home Assistance Service for 11 years and feels it’s a calling. “It’s what I’m supposed to do,” she said. “I am where I am supposed to be. If you’re not called into this work, you will not stay. It’s too hard.”

The organization works in 17 counties, and the idea of a holiday shopping fundraiser was used successfully in another county where the organization serves clients.

“One of our other counties had tried it, and it worked well, so we decided to try it and see if it works in Blount County. It absolutely took off,” Timbs said. “It was an unbelievable opportunity to shop for those for Christmas and those one-of-a-kind items.”

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