I do it every year. The week leading up to Thanksgiving, I cram.

Every night, I scan Pinterest and cooking blogs and make detailed notes. Food Network becomes my CNN news feed. Tyler Florence, Paula Deen and Ina Garten bring me updates on all things Thanksgiving like Diane Sawyer, Robin Roberts and George Stephanopoulos keep viewers abreast of all the latest news.

Speaking of breasts, did you know that more than 200 million pounds of turkey breasts are consumed during Thanksgiving? That’s just a sample of what I’ve learned during my cram sessions.

Now onto my planned Thanksgiving feast courtesy of Pinterest and the Food Network or what my husband calls, “The fast, easy way to drive yourself insane before a single relative walks through the door and asks, ‘what’s that smell?'”

They make it look so easy; those television chefs. According to Paula, the success of this holiday is dependent on a single ingredient; “moar reel buuuuttr.” By the end of her Thanksgiving special, I’m saying things like, “Jackson, get yo’ mama the buttr. I think these Fruit Loops will be a mighty bit tastier if we put a big dollop on top.”

I did come away with some very handy cooking tips courtesy of Ms. Deen. One: Real butter does make everything taste better. And two: Just because you exaggerate a southern drawl doesn’t mean you can intelligently explain that a turducken is not a cross hibernation of three birds but rather the main dish for the Andrews’ Thanksgiving feast.

I’ve started preparing my grocery list. For Tyler Florence’s cornbread sausage stuffing, I need 12 spices I’ve never heard of. I’m convinced Ina Garten’s recipe for Pear Clafouti will be a crowd pleaser even though my mother-in-law says, “people won’t eat what they can’t pronounce.” And if my guests don’t particularly care for those, my fried macaroni and cheese is sure to win them over… Or raise their cholesterol 100 points.

I’ve picked up most of the non-perishable grocery items and ordered the bird needed for the Thanksgiving feast.This means I will have a few minutes to rest before the rush of activity begins on Thanksgiving eve. For fun, I decided to try out one of the new recipes while Jacob was home from college last weekend. I summoned the boys to the kitchen to taste a sample of what is sure to be the perfect addition to our Thanksgiving Day dinner; cranberry pudding. Halfway down the stairs Jackson says, “Ugggh! What’s that smell?” Maybe not.

No matter what, I’ll continue to cram for the holiday cooking season. And I’ll always remember that Thanksgiving is not about the food you cook but about the people gathered around your table refusing to eat it. Happy Thanksgiving, y’all!

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Major Milestone

Wilson Bank & Trust celebrates 30th anniversary

A lot has changed for Wilson Bank & Trust after three decades. But then other things, like their commitment to their community, customers and employees, have continued to stay strong the years.

The original bank location was in a small, two-bedroom home — where their main office is today at 623 West Main St. in Lebanon — says Randall Clemons, CEO of Wilson Bank & Trust. A group of businessmen decided back in December 1986 to form a bank because the two local banks had sold to large holding company banks, Clemons explains.

“We started the process on Feb. 1 and raised $5 million from 800 local stockholders and opened in 90 days,” he says. “We had a tremendous response in the sale of stock and people purchasing stock that had never owned stock before.”

The bank has continued to grow since then, starting with eight employees the year they opened to now having 475.

“Our employees have made our bank by being servants to our customers and to each community that we serve,” Clemons says. “Our employees believe that we always treat our customers like we want to be treated.”

That mindset has paid off. They now have 27 offices in eight counties, with their newest location being in Metro Nashville. Clemons says they also have plans to open an office in Williamson County and additional offices in the counties they currently serve.

“We have been a community bank in each community that we serve and tried to make the community better as a result of our office being there,” Clemons says. “We have community boards in each community that we serve to help us be sure that we meet the needs of the community.”

The bank has a lot to celebrate, including their 30th anniversary. To show their gratitude for all of the support through the years, the bank is committed to giving $30,000 to the community.

“We believe we have a responsibility to give back to our communities and meet the needs of each,” he says.

They’ve also recognized this important 30-year milestone with family fun days in all of the county’s they serve and a larger-than-normal Oktoberfest. They will also continue the celebration with their Christmas Open House and Christmas parades in the counties where they’re located.

When it comes to the secret to the banks three-decade success, Clemons says it comes down to serving customers and the community — and also having professional employees who are team players.

Community is important to Wilson Bank, Clemons says, and they are proud to be part of the one here.

“Wilson County is a unique place that gave us our beginning, where people have a great volunteer spirit and believe in giving back to the community,” he says. “Our county is made up of special people that have blessed our bank with being loyal customers and that are part of our bank family.”

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A Joint Decision

Lebanon couple praises Tennova Healthcare for outstanding orthopedic care

Bobby and Betty Kirk share life together. The husband and wife enjoy boating, fishing, dancing, traveling and socializing together with their friends at the Lebanon Senior Citizens Center. They also share a history of joint pain. Both suffered from arthritic joints that had worn away cartilage until bone met bone. 

So, it’s no surprise that they both came to the conclusion to have total joint replacement surgery at Tennova Healthcare – Lebanon. In fact, the Kirks had a combined four knee replacement surgeries performed at the hospital within a span of just five months. They also shared the same orthopedic surgeon: Jon Cornelius, M.D. 

According to Dr. Cornelius, joint pain can result from a variety of conditions or injuries. “It can be the direct consequence of a single traumatic event like a fall. Or it can arise from overuse, repetitive trauma or stress to a particular joint or muscle. Regardless of its origin, joint pain can significantly interfere with normal movements, such as bending, reaching, walking and climbing stairs. If joint pain affects everyday activities and prevents you from doing the things you enjoy, it might be time to see an orthopedic specialist,” he says. 

A retired home health tech, Betty made the decision to have a total left knee replacement in July 2016. She admits she was worried about having surgery, but after meeting with Dr. Cornelius, her concern was quickly replaced with confidence. Three months after her first knee replacement surgery, the 68-year-old mother and grandmother from Lebanon had a total right knee replacement. 

“I can honestly say I experienced very little pain after my surgeries,” Betty says. “For each knee replacement, I spent just two days in the hospital and then I received physical therapy at home. I strongly believe that if you do your exercises and everything the doctor tells you to do, you will have a good recovery.” 

Seeing how well Betty did — and how quickly she “bounced back” after both of her joint replacement procedures — Bobby Kirk, age 69 and a semi-retired central air conditioning and heating mechanic, chose to have double knee replacement surgery in December 2016. Bobby says he used a walker for about a week post-surgery, and he was back at the gym working out within two weeks of his left and right knee replacements. 

“Dr. Cornelius encouraged us to do our exercises and not lay around,” Bobby says. “And I think that was a key to our successful recovery.” 

“Joint replacement is considered an elective surgery, meaning patients determine for themselves if and when to schedule the procedure,” Dr. Cornelius says. “This choice can be both a blessing and a curse. Patients appreciate being in charge, but often agonize for months or even years over whether it’s the right time for surgery. Frequently, they postpone the procedure and suffer tremendously in the interim.” 

“We can’t thank Tennova enough for the great care we received,” Betty says. “The staff was wonderful. We only wish we had done it sooner. We are both enjoying an active, pain-free life now.” 

“I don’t crawl around in attics anymore,” Bobby adds. “But we’re back to boating and playing Bingo at the senior citizens’ center and line dancing. You should see us do the Cupid shuffle now!” 

For more information or to find a doctor, call 1-855-TENNOVA (836-6682) or visit Tennova.com. 

About Orthopedics at Tennova Healthcare – Lebanon 

The comprehensive program at Tennova Healthcare – Lebanon features the expertise of a multidisciplinary team including orthopedic surgeons, anesthesiologists, orthopedic nurses, physical and occupational therapists, and a total joint program coordinator. Tennova Healthcare – Lebanon offers a full range of advanced surgical techniques including total joint replacement, partial joint replacement, resurfacing, and robotic-assisted surgery. To learn more, call 615-443-2560 or visit www.TennovaOrtho.com to sign up for a joint pain seminar. 

About Tennova Healthcare 

One of the state’s largest health networks, Tennova Healthcare includes 16 hospitals and more than 115 physician clinics. The combined network has approximately 2,600 licensed beds, 2,800 physicians on the combined active medical staffs, and 9,000 employees, with more than 70,000 admissions and 465,000 emergency department visits each year. Learn more at www.Tennova.com. 

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Notes for Nurses

Helping the next generation with fun night out

The community came out for an entertaining evening that supported a great cause:
Notes for Nurses. Cumberland University held its fifth annual Notes for Nurses event
Sept. 23 at the Savage Aviation Hanger at the Lebanon Municipal Airport.

It’s the University’s Rudy School of Nursing and Health Professions’ primary fundraiser
of the year, and they raised more than $93,000 this year. Since Notes for Nurses
started, it’s raised nearly $300,000 to help the school provide scholarships and lab

The event also kicked off the 25th anniversary celebration for the Rudy School of
Nursing and Health Professions.

“Notes for Nurses is an important event because it has allowed us to purchase state-of-
the-art simulation and training equipment to help us educate the next generation
of nurses,” says Joy Kimbrell, interim dean at Cumberland University. “The event has
also offered us the opportunity to provide scholarships to some students who might not
otherwise have the opportunity to become a nurse.”

The event featured music from musician Jonell Mosser, a live auction, cash bar, food
from Sammy B’s and much more. Attendees enjoyed the event well into the evening.
“It was such a wonderful evening, full of excitement, amazing food, incredible music and
dancing,” says Pam McAteer, Dental Group Transformations and event chair. “Seeing
the outpouring of support from the community with record attendance was

Although a lot of work went into planning the event, the group got to let loose with the
rest of the attendees.

“My favorite part of the event would have to be watching the nursing student volunteers
having such a great time on the dance floor during the after-party, which was an added
event this year,” McAteer says.

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Bombshell Business Woman

Local author looks to inspire female entrepreneurs with book

It’s no longer a man’s world, at least if the growing number of women entrepreneurs have anything to say about it. That includes Amber Hurdle, who wrote “The Bombshell Business Woman” to give other women actionable advice on how they can grow their businesses and succeed — no matter their circumstances.

Her struggles are actually what helped this bombshell get to where she’s at today, and readers can learn all about her journey in the book.

Hurdle, who grew up in Orange County, California, moved to Lebanon when she was 14 years old. Her father had always been in the music industry, so it only made sense that the family of eight would end up in the Nashville area.

She was seen as the ideal student, even making the evening news as a strong high school leader. That was just weeks before the moment that changed her life forever. At 16, Hurdle found out she was pregnant. After the initial shock wore off, she started to think about the logistics of raising a child when she was still one herself.

Hurdle knew she had to be dedicated to her education and work if she was ever going to be able to give her child all of the opportunities she deserved. She not only wanted to prove the naysayers and statistics wrong, but she wanted to also push herself to be the best she could.

Besides her family, helping her on that journey was Lebanon’s Johnny and Peggy Keel. Johnny was her first mentor, and Peggy — who Hurdle says was an entrepreneur in town before there was a thing — helped raise her professionally. “Peggy is the one who really encouraged me. I just can’t help but think if she didn’t make those investments in me, there’s no way I’d be where I am now — and she’s still there for me.”

From there, Hurdle has had a career focused on communications and engagement, whether that was in a marketing, public/internal relations or event management role. Like other writers, the idea of a book started to take root. So, she started putting pen to paper nearly four years ago.

At first, she had a difficult time coming up with the topic for her book. She originally considered writing a leadership book. But the more involved she became with female entrepreneurs throughout the community, she soon realized how little information and actionable advice there was for them.

“I personally had a hard time finding out how to do this. There wasn’t a book out there like what I wanted,” she says. So, she decided to solve the problem and create one.

Things started to fall together after that, finding a publisher, getting more clarity on her targeted audience and creating a plan to get the book published and out to readers. Her book, “The Bombshell Business Woman,” came out this fall and covers everything from Hurdle’s story to real advice on engaging employees, setting goals and networking.

A straight shooter, Hurdle uses her experiences, knowledge and skills to help other women looking to grow their businesses. She’s learned what does and doesn’t work for entrepreneurs, and she wants to share that with others to see them be successful.

Supporting her throughout the publishing process has been her husband, Geoff, and children Brittany, Derek and stepdaughter, Kristen Fussell. She’s also gotten support from the community.

Her book even features several local businesses who worked through her book guide together. “There’s just a sense of comradery that really inspired a lot of this book,” she says. “The most powerful aspect of it was that they were there for each other. They realized they weren’t really competition.

“So many women in this town contributed to its existence, whether they realize it or not,” Hurdle continues. “Lebanon is a true community, and we can only sustain that if we make an intentional effort to invest in each other.”

The book is for both new business owners and ones who have been doing it for years but need advice and support. She encourages entrepreneurs to grab a few of their fellow business women friends, study the book and help each other through the process.

“The huge challenge for women is having confidence, especially in a Pinterest-perfect world,” Hurdle says. “You were created a certain way: You have inherent, natural gifts you can use.”

The basis of her book is the idea of a bombshell woman, who she says is a woman who is comfortable in her own skin. “It’s not about vanity or external presentation. It’s who you are on the inside.”

In her book, she defines a bombshell as “a bold, brave and unwaveringly confident woman in business and life.” Those are attributes she strives toward, as well.

“It’s about being able to be a wife, mom, business owner, community volunteer,” Hurdle says. “A bombshell isn’t 9 to 5.”

Being able to understand the dynamics of being a woman business owner has enabled Hurdle to speak to women on a larger basis, giving them information that really helps and hits home. Having the opportunity to work with a variety of women and being able to make a real difference in their lives has been rewarding for Hurdle.

She says she wants readers to come away from the book feeling empowered. “If a woman feels empowered, she doesn’t let fear dictate her actions. She lets her truth and her talent and her gut instinct tell her what is next and how to best do things. And when a woman is operating in that flow, she’s unstoppable.”

It’s that unstoppable mindset that drove Hurdle to earn not only her high school degree, but also a bachelor’s degree. She’s proof people really can do anything they put their mind to, no matter what obstacles they’re against.

Her book aims to help other women find that same confidence, no matter their circumstances, and the best plan for their businesses. As she says in her book, “I can show just how far from grace I fell and what it took to first claw my way out of desperation and then to grow personally and professionally far more than I thought possible.”

For women who purchase her book early on, she’s offering a free 40-page workbook, 30 days of affirmation and a one-week Bible study. The book also features a study guide.

“If you want to get together with your bombshell squad, we have everything in there for how to facilitate a book study and how to make sure everybody’s heard,” she says.

“The Bombshell Business Woman” is available at Barnes & Noble, Books-A-Million, independent stores and Amazon.com. For more information, visit Amberhurdle.com.

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Shop ‘Til You Drop

Find all your favorite shops and gifts at the Holiday Expo

The Christmas season is just around the corner, which means Wilson Living’s Holiday Expo is almost here, as well. Thousands come out for the annual event, which will be Nov. 16-18 at the James E. Ward Ag Center at the Wilson County Fairgrounds.

Learn about the Holiday Expo from the Q&A, and visit Wilsonlivingmagazine.com/2017-holiday-expo for more information.

Q: What is the Holiday Expo?
A: The three-day event will have dozens of vendors for all of your holiday-shopping needs. It’s indoors at the Wilson County Fairgrounds, 945 E. Baddour Parkway in Lebanon.

source url Q: What time is the event?
A: It will be Thursday 5 to 9 p.m. for the Gala Sneak Peek, Friday 12 to 7 p.m. and Saturday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. There’s also Breakfast with Santa Saturday at 8 and 10 a.m.

Q: Is it free?
A: The Gala Sneak Peek cost is ticketed and costs $12 a person, and Breakfast with Santa tickets are $15 a person. The Holiday Expo is free to attend Friday and Saturday. Tickets can be purchased through PayPal on the website.

Q: Why go to the Gala Sneak Peek?
A: You’ll get the first look at all of the items for sale, ensuring you won’t miss out on any items that will sell quickly. We also have a surprise guest for the Gala: Heather Land, known for her hilarious “I Ain’t Doin It” videos, will be there to meet and greet attendees. There will also be catered dishes from Wildberry Café and Catering to enjoy. You won’t want to miss all of that!

Q: What will be at Breakfast with Santa?
A: Start the morning with a catered breakfast, story time with local author Andrea Hagan and an appearance by Santa. Take as many photos as you want with the kids and Santa, and head into the Expo when you’re finished.

Q: What types of booths will be there?
A: You’ll find everything from clothing and accessories to home and Christmas décor. There will also be food vendors, beauty products, children’s items, boutiques, gift items and much more. You’ll see stuff for every style and budget.

Q: Why should people attend the Holiday Expo?
A: It’s the perfect way to get in the holiday spirit with friends and family, while also shopping from local businesses and crossing things off your gift list. There’s really something for the whole family. Come dressed in your festive outfits, and enjoy a great shopping experience.

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Upcoming Events

Nov. 16-18
Wilson Living Holiday Expo
James E. Ward Ag Center
Get in the Christmas spirit and finish all of your shopping at our Holiday Expo! There will be dozens of booths carrying everything clothing and accessories to home décor and gift items. It kicks off with a ticketed Gala Sneak Peek Thursday from 5 to 9 p.m., and then it’s free Friday 12 to 7 p.m. and Saturday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. There will also be a ticketed Breakfast with Santa Nov. 18 at 8 and 10 a.m. For more information, visit Wilsonlivingmagazine.com/2017-holiday-expo. 

Nov. 25
Christmas in the Country, North Pole Express
Enjoy a day of shopping, goodies and maybe even see Santa. There will also be a ticketed North Pole Express Train going through for a day you won’t forget. Visit Watertowntn.com for more information.

Nov. 25
Small Business Saturday
Spend a Saturday Christmas shopping at local small businesses to celebrate Small Business Saturday. Many local businesses throughout the community take part in the day dedicated to shopping at small businesses. For more information, call 615-444-5503.

Nov. 25
Christmas Tree Lighting
Lebanon’s Historic Square
Join us at 5 p.m. to light the Christmas Tree on Lebanon’s Historic Square. Many students from schools around Wilson County along with local dignitaries will take part in the lighting of the tree. For more information, call 615-444-5503.

Dec. 3
Lebanon Christmas Parade
This year’s theme is “Christmas Movies Come to Life.” Participants are encouraged to pick a Christmas Movie theme for their entry. The parade begins at 2 p.m. at the Old Lebanon High School. From there, it will travel up Park Avenue, to East Main Street, around the Lebanon Public Square and down West Main Street, where it will end at the DT McCall & Sons parking lot. The 2017 Grand Marshal will be famed country music artist and actress Irlene Mandrell. To register a float for the parade, visit Lebanonwilsonchamber.com/christmasparade.

Dec. 9
Christmas Parade
Mt. Juliet
Enjoy floats and fun for the whole family at the city’s Christmas parade. This year’s theme is “Christmas in a Galaxy Far, Far Away.” The parade starts at the intersection of N. Mt. Juliet Rd. and Weston Dr., next to W. Wilson Middle School. For more information, visit Mtjuliet-tn.gov/426/christmas-parade.

Dec. 9
Christmas on the Square
Lebanon’s Historic Square
Join us on Lebanon’s Historic Square for a fun family night from 2 to 6 p.m. Festivities include live Christmas music, shopping, a kid’s corner, hair tinsel, market place vendors, food trucks, letters to Santa, candy canes and photos with Santa, carriage rides and Christmas cheer! For more information, visit Lebanonwilsonchamber.com or call 615-444-5503.

Sponsored By

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Custom Styles

Find custom clothing, gifts and more at Lebanon’s Urban Mills

Some outfits and accessories make people feel like they were made just for them. That’s a special feeling Urban Mills Promotions & Boutique in Lebanon strives to create for its shoppers with exclusive items and customizable pieces.

But if you had asked owner Ramona Welch a few years back if she would one day have a boutique, she might have laughed. It’s been an unlikely journey for Welch, who taught for 15 years and always had a passion for helping children. After leaving the school system, she worked in sales for a couple of years before venturing out and starting her own business in April 2015.

Welch opened Urban Mills Promotions located in The Mill at Lebanon, offering custom screen prints, embroidery and promotional products.

Her daughter, Carly Lee, was the one in the family with the passion for clothing. She was studying fashion merchandising and design at Tennessee Tech when she began telling her mother she should add clothing to her store.

A year later after graduating from TTU, Lee came to work for the shop. They began offering clothing and moved to a larger location in The Mill. They both brought their expertise to Urban Mills and said they loved working together.

“It’s the best of both worlds because she’s my best friend and my mom,” Lee says of her mother.

Continuing to grow, Urban Mills moved to its current location on the Lebanon Square in April. “It’s been wonderful. It’s twice as big as what we had,” Welch says. “We love it here, and I think it’s the perfect spot on the Square.”

Their shop is on the corner of the Square connecting to the Capitol Theatre, with plenty of windows for people to get a glimpse of what’s inside this stylish boutique. They say they’ve had visitors tell them the location reminds them of Franklin Square — but better.

Shoppers will find boutique clothing (sizes X-Small to 3X), baby items and clothing, jewelry, shoes, accessories, local artwork, gift items, home décor pieces and more. They also carry Decohides cowhide rugs that have been especially popular and can be seen hanging up in the store. “We can’t keep them in the store,” Lee says of the quick-selling hide rugs.

There are also plenty of Christmas décor and clothing pieces to get people in the spirit, including festive baby clothing up to 4T, ornaments, towels, scarves and more.

To set Urban Mills apart, the mother-daughter duo look to carry brands that will sell exclusively to them, keeping their customers from seeing their outfits worn by dozens of others around town.

One of their most popular brands is Bed Stu, which offers leather items like boots, purses and belts, Lee says. They also carry pieces from Tempo Paris, Molly Bracken, Mud Pie, Aratta and others.

“We want it to look different every time you come in the shop,” Welch says, “and see something new that you like.”

For truly one-of-a-kind pieces, Lee creates shirts, hats, jackets and more for their in-house brand, UM Design. Being able to showcase her creativity through her brand has been a neat and rewarding experience, she says.

They say they enjoy helping shoppers find items that match their styles, budget and fit. “When people come in the store, we try to help them with their own unique style and create an outfit that makes them look and feel good about themselves,” Welch says. “Our top priority is taking care of our customers.”

They encourage everyone to stop by and check out the store, even men. “We have stuff for guys, too. We also have a lot of men come in, and we love helping them pick out that special gift for their significant other,” Welch says. “We want everyone to know we have something for everybody at every price range.”

Urban Mills also offers screen printing, heat transfer, digital prints, promotional items and embroidery in the back of the store. Their items are perfect for businesses, schools or individuals who want a custom item.

“We can put your name or logo on just about anything,” Welch says.

The pair says the business has been made possible with the support from both of their husbands. Welch and her husband Andy have been married 33 years and also have a son, Cal — who has two children, Emery and Andrew, with his wife Lauren. Lee and her husband, Blake, have a 19-month-old son, Tritt.

Urban Mills is open Monday and Tuesday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Wednesday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Saturday 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. They are located at 126 Public Square in Lebanon

Follow them on Facebook, or email Urbanmillspromo@gmail.com for more information.

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Fall Back in Time

Granville celebrates history with fun, memorable festivity

What better way to remember the days of old than with a fall celebration the whole family can enjoy. One of middle Tennessee’s largest fall festivals, the Granville Fall Celebration has been bringing the community together for nearly two decades.

The free festival will be Oct. 7 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. throughout Granville’s Main Street. This year’s theme is “Thanks for the Memories” and will celebrate the 1940s with activities, tours and other events.

“You can step back in time,” says Randall Clemons, president of Granville Museum.

There will be World War II reenactments, exhibits, performances and more to really take attendees to an early time. People can also watch craftsman demonstrations, including watching them make cider, soap, pottery, brooms and much more. But that’s just the beginning.

There will also be a quilt show featuring more than 120 quilts in the historical Granville United Methodist Church and jazz music from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Granville Veterans Park. In addition to those sites and sounds, there will be a motorcycle show, food, craft booths, children’s rides, shopping and more.

“The Fall Celebration is a day of fun for all ages,” Clemons says.

Another major draw for the celebration is the Scarecrow Festival, which runs throughout the month. The Fifth Annual Granville Scarecrow Festival will be Oct. 4-29, Wednesdays through Saturdays.

The largest scarecrow exhibit in the state, the festival will continue the 1940s theme. There will also be ones for children to enjoy, like Bambi, Pinocchio, Dumbo and characters from “The Wizard of Oz.”

“We have over 250 traditional scarecrows, as well, displayed with fall decorations in a grand fashion,” Clemons says. Attendees will receive a guide when they arrive that tells the story of each scarecrow.

From these lively scarecrows to historic recreations, there are plenty of things to see, hear and do in Granville this fall. The town will even hold a historic ghost walk Oct. 27-28, continuing the theme of conserving memories.

“One hundred eighty-nine volunteers provide a great fall event for all ages and tell the story of our community and country,” he says. “History is preserved, and our community is showcased in a grand fashion.”

The Fall Celebration and Scarecrow Festival are both free, but tours of the Sutton Homestead cost. The event is made possible through the Tennessee Arts Commission Arts Build Communities (ABC) and Upper Cumberland Electric Membership Corp. (UCEMC) Cares grants. Visit Granvilletn.com for more information.

Photos By Peggy Clemons

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Heart of the City

Renovations breathe new life into Historic Lebanon Square

Take a step onto Lebanon’s Square, and you’ll be surrounded by a mix of historic buildings, new boutiques, friendly faces and a gamut of other updates. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the Square is tapping into its rich history to restore and rejuvenate the city center.

Several of the current renovation projects were made possible with the Facade Improvement Grant from Historic Lebanon, says Kim Parks, executive director of Historic Lebanon and local Main Street program manager.

The grant will allow them to restore the facades and storefronts of these historic buildings, including replacing windows, painting with a historical color palette, improving signage and adding lighting to enhance the architectural features.

Formed in 1802, the Square has faced several changes through the centuries, including fires that destroyed whole blocks, new businesses opening and the addition of the roundabout in recent years.

The roundabout has not only brought a new level of safety to the Square, but it’s also created new opportunities for businesses and made the area more walkable, says Rob Cesternino, the City of Lebanon’s mayor pro tempore and Ward 3 councilman.

The Square has also seen parades during WWII, First Monday Mule Day sales, four county courthouses and even a store owned by Andrew Jackson before being elected president.

“The Square is the historical heart of the city. That’s where the city began: The first 40 acres are where the Square is now,” says Rick Bell, Lebanon’s Ward 6 councilman and history professor at Cumberland University. “No matter how much the city grows, the Square is still the heart of the city.”

Born and raised in Lebanon, Bell says he’s enjoyed watching the city grow through the years. Bell says it’s important to preserve that history and give people a place they can spend time and walk around.

“There aren’t many places where you can park your car, walk and go to stores. You can go to a movie at the Capitol, or go shop,” Bell says. “It’s just a place for a great night where you can relax and be safe.”

Helping to make the Square more walkable is the surge of new businesses opening nearby.

“Anytime there’s something new in close proximity to the Square, it spurs that walkability factor,” says Sarah Haston, economic development director for the City of Lebanon.

Some new additions coming to the Square include a restaurant and the Cumberland Entrepreneur and Co-Working Center.

“People used to talk about going to the Square and shops, and now a new generation is saying, ‘Let’s go to the Square and shops,’” Bell says.

Beyond going to shops and events, people can also live in and around the Square as more loft spaces become available, adding to its appeal.

All of the current renovations and new business additions are focused on preserving the history of the Square, while also keeping it current for generations to come.

“We’re moving forward with positive energy — and also engaging the people who have lived in Lebanon their entire lives,” says Cesternino, who relocated here from Seattle 10 years ago.

It’s an exciting time for the Historic Lebanon Square as the city finds the perfect combination of new and old to liven up this important destination.

“The Square has gone through a lot of changes in the past. Building styles have changed, stores have changed, business have come and gone — and right now we’re going through another change,” Bell says. “I feel like this is a change for the better. We’re making the Square better than it ever was.”

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