Chances are Calhoun High School seniors Clifford Lance and Mauricio Penagos won’t ever have to stand in the middle of the street and sell beads to survive.
But while they were peddling them Saturday during down-town Calhoun’s Harvest Fest, they understood beads for some women in impoverished countries are their only means of survival.
BeadsforLife, a nonprofit program, provides the women of Kampala, Uganda the necessary skills to create beads out of recycled paper and sell them to help support their families by sending beads to the U.S. for sale.
“This organization of beaders in Africa takes long strips of paper and sends it off to organizations,” explained Lance. “It’s sold for a decent bit of profit and helps provide educa-tion and a better life for people in Uganda and Africa.”
Downtown Calhoun closed Saturday for Harvest Festival, a multi-block fall festival which offered shopping, food, con-tests and children activities.
Rotating with other students throughout the day, Lance and Penagos helped sell beaded necklaces at the booth with teacher Kathryn Sproull.
“We shut down our downtown to show the city what we have to offer,” said organizer Suzanne Roland. “We’ve pulled out people from every area of the community to come here.
“We don’t charge anything because it’s an avenue for peo-ple to showcase what they have to offer to a captive audi-ence,” added Roland.
“The vast majority of the money generated goes directly to the beaders and to community development programs and education,” said Sproull of the approximately $500 they raised Saturday.
Since vendors didn’t have to pay fees to set-up booths Sat-urday all of the proceeds directly benefit them and the or-ganizations represented.
Participating vendor Janice Hobby and owner of Heart’s Desire, located in downtown Calhoun, said the event allowed her to showcase her gently used and new items outside of her store, but also brought customers inside to shop.
“We have some slow days and some really good days,” she said. “God is good and we are blessed and give him all of the credit.”
It also confirmed the location is a good fit for her.
“Everyone tells us we need to expand, but truthfully we like it downtown and are happy here,” she added.
They were among 80 vendors lining the center of the street, and along the sidewalks of downtown during the fourth an-nual event.
While cold weather and other community activities ham-pered attendance, organizers were pleased that more than 3,000 festivalgoers attended.
Hundreds of kids, parents and many strollers descended into the downtown area near the library for free activities for children including tractor-trailer rides, Inflatable jumpers, Halloween costume contests and more.
Visit the Calhoun Times Web site at www.calhountimes.com to see photos of children and adults at Harvest Fest.