“I think Rose Lawn has been a great setting for many years,” said Wheeler, who also is a member of the festival’s planning committee. “It is a beautiful home. It gives many residents a rare opportunity to go inside and tour the home because it is used as a special events facility here in our county.
“So [the tours will help people] learn about the legacy of Sam Jones — how he kind of shaped the nation during his time, the affect that he had on America’s presidents as well as many other very influential leaders, the fact that when he passed away that his body lay in state at the Georgia Capitol, few have had that honor. So I think it’s a unique legacy [and] there are still residents in our county that perhaps may not know that much about his history.”
Operated by Bartow County government as a house museum, the building 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, drawing thousands to revivals at the Union Gospel Tabernacle — now known as Ryman Auditorium — a venue in Nashville, Tenn., that was built in his honor.
“[The] beautiful home [is] a marvel of architecture in that it was a little two-story cottage and was raised and this beautiful, elaborate Victorian showplace was kind of built underneath,” Wheeler said. “All of this stemming from his ministry and the people that he influenced. ... [There was] certainly some riches and great blessings that came to him and his family because of his work.
“... The lot itself is just beautiful. There are 200 varieties of heirloom roses there on the property. These have been being cultivated by the Master Gardeners of Bartow County and we’re very excited this year, because this is the first year that the Master Gardeners will have plants from this heirloom collection for sale. So it’s kind of like people can really take a very, very unique treasure from Rose Lawn home with them.”
In addition to guided tours, the festival — hosted by Bartow County government — also will include a record number of fine arts and heritage crafts vendors, live entertainment, an annual book sale hosted by the Cartersville chapter of American Association of University Women, and a plant sale and clinic conducted by the Bartow County Master Gardeners. Also running in conjunction with the festival will be the Healthy Bartow Historic 5K, which will depart Rose Lawn Museum at 8 a.m. Saturday.
“We are growing. We have turned away unfortunately so many artists this year that is just heartbreaking to us. We are thrilled with the interest that our festival has gained. We have more than 150 vendors this year,” Wheeler said, adding the juried festival will feature a wide variety of artwork, such as pottery, jewelry and photography. “That is the most we’ve ever had.
“We have grown record-breaking amounts the past five years. We keep reworking our site map to try to accommodate more and more booths each year but again with the beautiful, city tree-shaded lot that we have — it’s 3 acres — we think that we’re getting close to reaching our maximum. We will continue to try to accommodate people as the interest continues but we are just excited about the quality of artists that we’re going to be able to offer this year. They’re coming from all across the Southeast.”
One of the most anticipated offerings at the festival will be the AAUW’s book sale, Wheeler said. The sale, which will feature a variety of reading materials, generated nearly $3,000 last year for scholarships. With donations coming from the public, the group will be accepting book contributions — except for textbooks and Reader’s Digest Condensed Books — through Thursday at M. Faye McCord’s law office, 123 Leake St., Cartersville.
“Book lovers come from a good distance to see what we have to offer,” said local AAUW Co-President Diane Sakmar, adding the book sale started at least 30 years ago. “The community has always been very generous in donating used books and we’re interested in just about any kind of book. ... We welcome hardcover or paperback, fiction or nonfiction, children’s books, self-help books, cookbooks, gardening — really every topic imaginable.
“... [Through the book sale], we’re trying to raise money for scholarships for local women, for nontraditional students. [A nontraditional student is] somebody who has been out of school for awhile, not the graduating high school senior who is in the pipeline for all of the traditional scholarships. ... We like to offer encouragement to those women.”
On Saturday at 1 p.m., accolades will be bestowed in three different presentations: Juried Artists Awards, the Hospitality Heroes Awards and the People’s Choice Awards for the top attraction, restaurant and shop. While there will be a charge to partake in guided tours of the Rose Lawn Museum, there will be no admission fee to enter the festival.
For more information about the festival, call Wheeler at 770-387-1357 or visit www.roselawnmuseum.com.