The Orangeburg County Fine Arts Center’s first Art of Christmas Festival attracted more than 250 visitors who made the 25 vendors not only delighted with the number of purchases, but the joyful seasonal atmosphere that permeated the three-day event.

Visitors were greeted inside the entrance by an imaginative array of Christmas quilting designs by the Starlight Quilters, with Bonnie Thompson and Sandra Jackson smiling welcomes that set the tone of down-to-earth hospitality from all the vendors.

Executive Director Heather Rast, who spearheaded the festival with board member Britney Hunter, said the event went far beyond their expectations.

“Six vendors came to me to say this was the best show ever,” Rast said. “One vendor from California told me how pleased she was with the Arts Center’s festival and that she does shows all the time.”

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Rast added that knowing that the vendors did well means that the visitors really liked the variety of products that were on sale.

One of the vendors had a goal beyond making a seasonal profit.

The Orangeburg Council of Garden Clubs intend to use their proceeds to upgrade the Art Center’s Terrace Garden.

Susan Berry, a Dogwood Garden Club member and former chair of the Arts Center’s board, said the clubs have a goal of raising $3,000 to transform the Terrace Garden.

Last spring, the Arts Center offered lunches in the garden, the area at the back that overlooks the Edisto River.

“That was very popular, and the area was admired. Members of the garden clubs want to use their talents and experience to take the garden to another level of beauty and ambience,” Berry said.

While they continue to raise funds, they’ll work on horticultural designs that complement the garden area and beyond.

The festival’s silent auction, which included several hand-made wreaths, gift baskets, paintings and other fine art objects, was a success as well.

“We sold everything,” Rast said. “We have a few items that were donated after we set up the festival.” These are for sale. Anyone interested can reach out to the Arts Center at 803-536-4074.

Rast and Hunter said they are grateful this first festival was a success, and it will become an Arts Center Christmastime tradition.

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