Today is Sunday, July 23, 2017

'Country Living' makes itself at home

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Antiques matchmaker Cari Cucksey of HGTV's "Cash & Cari" will appear at 4 p.m. Saturday and at noon Sunday at the Country Living Fair at the James E. Ward Agricultural Center in Lebanon. She will discuss how to repurpose items into something new and fabulous and advise folks on how to do their own picking as well as how to learn to value items. Photo submitted
Singer Memarie Gayle of Old Hickory, who has opened shows for the likes of Trace Adkins, Tracy Lawrence and Jason Aldean, performs on the main stage at 2 p.m. Saturday and 1 p.m. Sunday at the Country Living Fair. She also will be selling jewelry from her Fearless Memories shop all weekend. Photo submitted
TV personality and author of Farmhouse Rules, Nancy Fuller will do cooking demonstrations on the Kitchen Stage, followed by a book signing for her new cookbook, at noon Saturday and 1 p.m. Sunday at the Country Living Fair at the James E. Ward Agricultural Center. Photo by Andrew Ciccarelli
At 1 p.m. Saturday on the Main Stage, Erin and Ben Napier, stars of HGTV's "Home Town," will discuss small-town living and historic design. Afterward, they will meet and greet folks. Photo submitted
At 1 p.m. Saturday on the Main Stage, Erin and Ben Napier, stars of HGTV's "Home Town," will discuss small-town living and historic design. Afterward, they will meet and greet folks. Photo submitted
When the Country Living Fair made its Lebanon debut last year, it brought a crowd of 23,000 to town over the three-day weekend event. A similar crowd is expected for the second edition of the fair this weekend. Photo submitted
When the Country Living Fair made its Lebanon debut last year, it brought a crowd of 23,000 to town over the three-day weekend event. A similar crowd is expected for the second edition of the fair this weekend. Photo submitted

3-day affair deals in good deals, TV celebs, food, music

"Country" comes to town.

We're talking about the Country Living Fair that returns for a second helping of Wilson County hospitality this Friday through Sunday at the James E. Ward Agricultural Center.

The national magazine's Middle Tennessee affair should result in a grand shopping spree for more than 20,000 attendees as they interact with 200 vendors from 32 states that will be selling antiques, vintage and artisan-made goods. While not looking for good deals, fair-goers will enjoy live music, food, demonstrations, seminars and the chance to meet some of TV's top celebrities when it comes to cooking, restoration, antiquing, repurposing and home décor.

Country Living Fair back for 3-day gala

The Country Living Fair brings the magazine's content to life and gives readers access to a unique shopping experience featuring more than 200 vendors from 25 states, including antiques sellers, food purveyors, artists, furniture makers, crafters and more. Guests will also have access to cooking, crafting and DIY demonstrations, will be able to sample locally sourced, artisanal food and can shop the Country Living General Store. The event runs 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Friday-Sunday. It all takes place at the James E. Ward Agricultural Center, 945 East Baddour Parkway, in Lebanon. One-day admission is $13 in advance and $16 at the door; three-day weekend passes are available for $15 in advance and $20 at the door. An Early Bird three-day weekend pass is available for $40 and grants early admission at 8:30 a.m. Friday and Saturday. Admission is free for ages 16 and under. Parking is free. For tickets and additional information, including a list of vendors and discounted hotel rates, contact Stella Show Management Co. at 1-866-500-FAIR or go online to stellashows.com. For additional details, visit countryliving.com/fair/a5372/country-living-fair-nashville/.

Attendees can meet "Country Living" editors as well as a variety of special guests that include: Nancy Fuller, TV personality and author of "Farmhouse Rules," who will speak and sign copies of her new cookbook on the Kitchen Stage at noon Saturday and 1 p.m. Sunday; Joanne Palmisano, contributing DIY Network designer and stylist, who will present on the main stage at 2 p.m. Friday and 11 a.m. Saturday, followed by book signing; Erin and Ben Napier, stars of HGTV's "Home Town," will speak on the Main Stage about small-town living and historic design at 1 p.m. Saturday, followed by a meet and greet with folks from 2-4 p.m.; and Cari Cucksey, of HGTV's "Cash & Cari," will discuss how to repurpose items into something new and fabulous at 4 p.m. Saturday and noon Sunday in the pavilion next to the Kitchen Stage.

Among the special guests will be Nancy Fuller, TV personality and author of "Farmhouse Rules"; Erin and Ben Napier, stars of HGTV's "Home Town"; Cari Cucksey, star of HGTV's "Cash & Cari"; and Joanne Palmisano, contributing DIY Network designer and stylist.

The energetic Cucksey operates RePurpose Estate Services and runs the RePurpose Shop, where she refurbishes just about anything she can get her hands on. And as an antiques dealer, she crosses the U.S.A., combing flea markets, farmhouses, attics, basements, garages and estate sales on the prowl for collectibles, antiques, rare memorabilia and cool retro stuff that she can flip for profit or restore.

On her "Cash & Cari" TV series, she and her cohorts organize an estate sale on their client's property, handling everything from A to Z. After exploring the house from top to bottom and appraising the items, they price them and then hold the estate sale where the rule of the day is everything must go.

Vintage genes

Cucksey says her career path took off when she was 12 years old as she got hooked on 10-cent pieces, but the antique bug was already in her genes.

"My father got me into collecting coins, looking for Mercury dimes. Coins are the first things that sparked me," said Cucksey during a phone interview last week.

"Both my parents were all into antiques and both grandparents. I grew up in a 1908 Sears-Roebuck in Fenton, Michigan My mother was a teacher and took summers off to be on the hunt. She would go to many auctions and estate sales and always dragged me around. My dad was into buying and selling classic vintage cars.

"My grandfather and grandmother influenced me. My grandfather Morris was the first American picker. He'd say, 'I'm going out shopping,' but not in stores but along the side of the road. I got that in my blood at an early age. I learned the art of repurposing by looking at things differently and bringing them back to life with a little elbow grease," said the repurposing queen, whose show airs on GAC, DIY and HGTV and in 40 countries.

Preview of shows in Lebanon

As for her Saturday and Sunday appearances at the Country Living Fair (her booth will be located in the pavilion next to the Kitchen Stage), she said, "Basically, I'll talk about how to value pieces, show them to do their own picking and answer a lot of repurposing questions. The DIY lifestyle is real hot now. I'll be jumpstarting people on how to start and what to do and how to use my paints and stains for a lot of purposes."

(To check out her RePurpose ReColor Paint and Stain Line, go to repurposeshop.com.)

Cucksey and her husband recently purchased a historic building in Holly, Michigan, a bank built in the 1860s that also saw service as a hardware store, millinery and photo studio.

"It's the perfect set up for our retail offices and we live on the second floor. It's a repurposed house," she jokes.

"My husband and I walk the walk and talk the talk. Everything in our home is strictly antique or handmade or artisan made... Our clothing is 90-percent secondhand. Everything in our home falls under those categories."

Tips from the female picker

* * *

Among local vendors appearing at the Country Living Fair will be: Beth Sachan of Goo Goo Clusters with cooking demos on how to make these iconic Nashville treats.

Brandy Adams, owner of Make + Model, a style studio & online shop with a focus on the unique and unexpected, that combines vintage and one-of-a-kind finds with global textiles and pops of color.

Melissa Broadwell of Vintage Florals, with demos on how to create a flower arrangement.

Jenni Bowlin, owner of JBS Mercantile in Nashville, a boutique company with a passion for crafty endeavors and all things vintage.

Local musicians performing include Memarie Gayle of Old Hickory, who has opened shows for Trace Adkins, Tracy Lawrence and Jason Aldean, and more. In addition to taking the main stage at 2 p.m. Saturday and at 1 p.m. Sunday, she'll also be selling jewelry all weekend from her Fearless Memories shop.

Nashville singer-songwriter Ruthie Collins, who blends an upright bass with a dance beat, will be playing the music stage at noon Friday, 3 p.m. Saturday and at 4 p.m. Sunday. She'll also have her airstream onsite, which she renovated in a country-chic style.

The weekend adds up to one heck of a fair deal.

Cucksey's shot to transform her skills into a TV show came from out of the blue.

"We have the same production company as 'American Pickers.' They were looking for a female, and it landed in my lap. They found my company online, found my phone line, and it snowballed from there," she said.

The savvy entrepreneur has a book in the works, 75 percent complete, titled "Antique Matchmaker." Fans will have to wait a bit longer for the book, but for now she offers newbies into the antique world a few choice tips:

"Start with what interests you, what you are drawn to, what you like," she says. "There is so much to learn in the antiques and vintage world.

"The biggest thing is determining the value of items. Something is really only worth what somebody will pay for it. Educate yourself by reading books and going online. Then just jump right in and get started. After you start buying, you'll start to figure out, 'Oh, I paid too much for that.' You're always going to run into something new."

Asked what was the most unique item she was currently repurposing, the seven-month pregnant Cucksey laughed and said, "My body--for this baby."

She then shared, "I'm working on the nursery right now, and it's all repurposed. I just took an old Hoosier cabinet and made it into a baby-changing table."

Now that's creative repurposing.

Writer Ken Beck may be contacted at kbtag2@gmail.com.

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antiques, Country Living, Country Living Fair, event, goods, guest appearance, James E. Ward Ag Center, Lebanon, live music, show, Wilson County, Wilson County Fairgrounds
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