Our first Open House and Company Picnic—in 2002—was held in the back yard of our first production office and studio at Lovelace Crossroads—a brick ranch-style house located just north of Florence, Alabama. We invited our staff, our artisans, their families, and anyone else in the community that wanted to join us for an afternoon of what we lovingly call “Dinner on the Ground.” And so they came with blankets and quilts and fold-out chairs—our families, our neighbors, and folks that heard what we were doing and wanted to know just what we were up to in that little house.
We spread our blankets and filled picnic tables with food, potluck-style. It was a time to show off your famous cinnamon rolls or cook your grandmother’s famous fried chicken recipe. It felt magical, moving from one picnic blanket to the next, meeting one another’s loved ones that we’d all heard so much about. It was a day of blue skies and music. There were children and grandchildren, spouses, grandparents, best friends, and dogs—most with plates full of potato salad, barbecue, biscuits, and pie.
Friends and neighbors came and went, but many of us stayed for hours—telling stories and more stories. As afternoon turned to evening, we rolled up blankets and packed up the leftovers (there are almost always leftovers; as Southerners, it’s against our raising to run out of food). We were all stuffed, a little pink from the sun, and satisfied.
That was the first of many picnics. Each year, there were new faces and always many friends. There was often music and always laughter. Times changed, and we moved from Lovelace Crossroads to The Factory in 2007 but we never forgot that Alabama Chanin is deeply a part of this community and that we want our community to remain deeply connected to us.
And so, this year we reinstate our annual Alabama Chanin Community Picnic on April 11, beginning at 10:00am at The Factory.
Come one, come all…bring your family and friends, your favorite side dish, and your very best stories.
P.S.: For a complete listing of the day’s schedule of events visit here–and to register for one of our mini-workshops on indigo dyeing, stenciling, and/or sewing visit here.