Saturday, June 5, 2010

Unique Venue for a Booksigning

I'll be taking part in a bit of historical trivia on Saturday, June 19, when mystery writer colleague Beth Terrell and I sign books in a booth at the 16th annual RC-Moon Pie Festival. The location is the quaint little town of Bell Buckle, TN, 45 miles south of Nashville. With a population in 2008 of only 411, you might wonder why we're signing books there. Here's why:

The annual RC-Moon Pie Festival sponsored by the Bell Buckle Chamber of Commerce attracts more than 15,000 visitors. It's one of the top twenty events on the Southeastern Tourism Society calendar.

If you're unfamiliar with the two Southern delights being honored, the Moon Pie is made in Chattanooga where it was created in 1917. About the diameter of a hockey puck, it contains two round chocolate-covered graham crackers with marshmallow cream between. The RC Cola came along in 1934 from a Columbus, GA pharmacy. During the thirties, the two concoctions, at a nickel apiece, came to be known as a "workingman's lunch."

The town of Bell Buckle is a bit more historic, dating back to 1852. The origin of the name is uncertain. One possibility, according to the Chamber of Commerce, goes like this: "The first white man to traverse the area now known as Bell Buckle discovered carvings in the shape of a cowbell and buckle on a tree near a free-flowing creek. This carving was interpreted as a warning from Indians that the domesticated animals of white civilization were intruding upon their lands."

However it started, the town became a booming place with arrival of the Nashville and Chattanooga Railroad. The boom days ended, however, with the Great Depression, and by the 1960s many of its one-story businesses had become shuttered and dilapidated. A revival movement turned the town into a mecca for arts and crafts shops and antiques. An area including the downtown and out to the Webb School property was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1976.

Webb School, founded by William R. "Sawney" Webb in the late 1800s, is an internationally-recognized college prep school.

Belle Buckle is located in the same county as Shelbyville, home of the Tennesee Walking Horse National Celebration. Its unique festival features everything from a 10-mile run in the morning to country and bluegrass music, a parade, games, barbeque, and cutting of the World's Largest Moon Pie.

It should be a fun day to sell books.


Doreen McGettigan said...

Good luck what a unique and interesting place for signings..I hope you do well!

Chester Campbell said...

Thanks, Doreen. We're looking forward to it. Only problem is it'll be hot as the dickens.