Court Days offers antiques,
crafts, food and more for 43 years
has become a favorite
tradition for residents, visitors
Lela Jane Bradshaw
(May 2010) As a real estate agent, Amy Ralston
works hard to help families find the perfect place to call home. As
an artist, she works hard on homes of a different sort.
Since 2006, Amy and her husband, Landon, have been crafting unique birdhouses
perfect for decoration inside or out. While the Madison, Ind., couples
first pieces were created as personal gifts for family members, very
quickly we started being asked if we sold them so we though we would
give it a try and it was a success, said Amy.
The couple started out focusing on the decorative aspect of the houses
but soon began building ones that could also be used outdoors. We
get requests for birdhouses that attract certain birds, she says.
Ralston make unique
birdhouses, which they
will be selling at
Old Court Days.
These birdhouses are a family project for the artists.
Ralston, 29, describes the work with her husband as a good team
project for us. It allows us to be creative together and spend time
She does much of the painting while her husband tends to focus on the
building and woodcraft. In addition to their birdhouses, the couple
also create outdoor pieces such as potting benches and garden
benches. We also built furniture such as reproduction step back cabinets,
wall cabinets, and television cabinets.
Once the items are complete, Amy and her mother market them at shows
across Indiana, Ohio and Kentucky. She believes the family birdhouses
are popular because they are unique, each birdhouse is handcrafted
and therefore no two are the same.
One show that has proven a particularly good fit is the Pilot Club of
Madisons Old Court Days festival. We have participated in
Old Court Days since spring of 2007. It has always been a success for
us and we like being able to interact with the community, she
The Spring Old Court Days festival will run May 28-30 from 9 a.m. to
6 p.m. each day in the streets surrounding the Jefferson County Courthouse
and adjoining streets. This year marks the 43rd year of the popular
event that features everything from antiques and area crafts to garden
supplies and homemade ice cream.
Show organizer Dee Gauger estimates that this years spring show
will include about 100 vendors. Booth spaces are still available for
those wishing to sign up. The fall version of the show attracts approximately
175 sellers and coincides with the Madison Chautauqua Festival of Art.
The success of the show is illustrated by the enthusiasm repeat vendors
Vendors are the ones who want it to keep it twice a year,
Over the years, the event has become a favorite tradition for Madison
residents and visitors with people coming from surrounding states to
enjoy a day of outdoor shopping on the riverfront. A lot will
come every year and see what is new, said Gauger.
Gauger explains that the festival started out as an area farmers
market. It used to be a lady would have the farmers bring over
their wears to sell around the courthouse. Mrs. Goley, when she became
ill, asked the Pilot Club to help, she said. From its start of
offering local fruits and vegetables, the market has grown to a popular
arts and crafts event.
Over the past 30 years the Pilot Club of Madison has organized the festival,
and it has become a successful fundraiser for the organization. Gauger
explains that the money raised goes to support the clubs charities
and projects throughout the year. Some of the beneficiaries of the clubs
hard work include the Salvation Army and Girls Inc. The proceeds from
Old Court Days also are used to fund area scholarships and the group
recently donated to help a young boy suffering from seizures afford
a specially trained service dog.
Gauger says that 95 percent of the money we raise stays in the
For more information, contact Dee Gauger
at (812) 273-6226.
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