May Market at Rose Lawn takes bloom this weekend

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In its third offering, the May Market at Rose Lawn is quickly becoming a crowd favorite, with some patrons favoring the spring event over the venue’s established fall arts festival. Presented when many of the property’s more than 200 rose varieties will be in bloom, the arts and crafts festival will return to downtown Cartersville Saturday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Sunday noon to 5 p.m.

“With the tremendous success of our annual Arts Festival at Rose Lawn, years ago, the festival committee surveyed many of our artists and vendors and asked if they would support a spring festival,” said Jane Drew, director of the Rose Lawn Museum. “We were pleasantly surprised with their overwhelming enthusiasm and support. Thankfully, our community has responded with their attendance and positive remarks and some say they prefer May Market over our fall event. It is exciting and rewarding to get calls from our last year’s attendees of May Market asking if their favorite artist is returning.

Operated by Bartow County government as a house museum, the Rev. Samuel Porter Jones’ former residence at 224 W. Cherokee Ave. features the belongings of the late Methodist evangelist’s family and teacher, Rebecca Felton. While his ministry started small — preaching at various churches and open-air tabernacles surrounding Cartersville — Jones gained notoriety during the late 1800s. He drew thousands to revivals at the Union Gospel Tabernacle, now known as Ryman Auditorium — a venue in Nashville, Tenn., that was built in his honor.

This weekend, the May Market will feature about 80 vendors selling food products and creative works, such as pottery, jewelry, photography, paintings and handmade soap. There also will be a clinic and plant sale conducted by local Master Gardeners, live entertainment and guided tours — $5 for adults and $2 for children younger than 12 — of the 20-room Victorian structure.

“As in the past, the Rose Lawn staff and festival committee strives to provide family-friendly entertainment, arts and crafts and great food,” Drew said. “In keeping with tradition, we are always excited to host our local performing arts. Not only are our fragrant, prolific roses ‘attention-getters;’ the 13 different groups of children that we have twisting, tumbling, twirling and singing are a sight to behold.

“Our staff is always surprised to hear that there are local people who have never toured Rose Lawn nor do they know the compelling story of Rev. Sam P. Jones. This weekend will be a perfect time to check that off your list. This time-tested treasure, named after the 200 rose plants that once graced the walkways and fences of the property, is a valuable landmark in our community.”

She continued, “In 1895, the beauty of the estate extended past the architectural wonder of the house. As Reverend Jones traveled to major cities and preached for weeks at a time, his beloved wife, Laura, stayed home, raised their children and spent much of her time creating an outside showplace. From 1895 to 1926, her gardens consisted of over 200 roses. In fact, this magnificent home was named Rose Lawn by Mrs. Jones.”

Echoing Drew’s comments, May Market committee member Regina Wheeler also encourages area residents to tour the historic structure.

“Because [Rose Lawn] is used as a special events home, a lot of times when people are off work and out and about on the weekends, unfortunately it’s unavailable for a tour,” Wheeler said, adding the museum is open to the public Tuesday through Friday. “So we are happy that Bartow County offers these festivals twice a year at Rose Lawn, giving people the opportunity [to take a tour]. If they’ve never had a chance to go in the home ... [now] they have an opportunity to do so and discover the legacy of Sam Jones.”

May Market’s patrons, who will be admitted free of charge, will be encouraged to take advantage of the complimentary shuttle from the parking lots of the Olin Tatum Agricultural Building, 320 W. Cherokee Ave., and Frank Moore Administration and Judicial Center, 135 W. Cherokee Ave.

For more information about the May Market, visit http://www.roselawnmuseum.com or call 770-387-5162.