Tucked away on the western side of the county is a treasure-trove of crafts, antiques and decorating ideas. Splinters and Rags, located on N.C. 27 West in Vale, is having a fall festival Saturday to showcase their store, as well as other vendors offering handmade crafts, antiques, art, jewelry, up-cycled furniture, architectural salvage, trash to treasure and fresh Amish baked goods and furniture. 

Much of what’s offered at Splinters and Rags has been either hand-crafted or up-cycled by owner, Diana Gaines. She started to do small craft shows 30 years ago.

“At my very first one, I sold $60 and I thought, ‘this is it, I found my calling,’” she said. “We (Gaines and her husband) moved up here (to Vale) and I did five or six big shows a year. When this building became available, I bought it and started a wholesale handmade line.”

Over the years, some manufactured items have been added to Gaines’ offerings because, she said, people have changed from collecting to decorating. They used to purchase more one-of-a-kind items to add to their collection, but now they want to decorate.

“There’s never any confusion,” she said. “We don’t try to pass something made in China off as made in the USA.”

About three years ago, Gaines’ father who lived in Michigan passed away and she became the guardian of a mentally-handicapped brother.

“I essentially shut the doors and spent about a half a year going back and forth with all his appointments,” she said. “We were closed about two-and-a-half years but I was still doing shows.”

Last fall, a chance meeting with brothers Charles and Jason Smith changed Gaines’ focus. Initially, she just asked them for help pricing and packaging wholesale items. After a couple of weeks, however, she realized how well they worked together. She asked the Smith brothers if they wanted to help her re-open the store.

Taking back the store took some work but they were able to get it done by Black Friday last year.

“They transformed it,” she said. “On Black Friday we walked out there to welcome everybody back and they about ran us over to get through the door. They were thrilled to have me back and to see Charles and Jason because they have a following.”

The selection at Splinters and Rags is very diverse, which Gaines said has served her well over the years. The combination of the physical store, doing shows throughout the year and the wholesale business helps her to survive in the business.

The fall festival on Saturday will be at the store as well as the farm house across the street. In addition to Splinters and Rags offerings, there will be booths with other vendors, as well as baked goods, lotions and furniture made by an Amish family. In addition to the Amish baked goods, there will also be a food booth with barbecue and burgers. There is ample parking available with parking attendants directing parking. There will be a Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office deputy on hand to direct traffic. No pets are allowed.

“We’re so grateful for the support that we had,” Gaines said. “We want to give other small local businesses and crafters a chance and some promotion and let them be seen.”

Splinters and Rags is located at 5865 West Highway 27 in Vale. The hours of the festival are 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. It is free to attend.

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