After 38 years in the Village of Yesteryear, Jim Trantham is hanging up his tools and calling it a day.
The musical instrument maker is retiring after this year’s fair, passing the reins of leadership to Pam Earp, a crafter who creates corn shuck dolls.
On Saturday morning before the Village opened, the crafters gathered to honor the Tranthams. Jim’s son Doug and Doug’s children have been fixtures in the Village. With Jim’s retirement, all of the Tranthams will take a break from the Village.
The Village crafters have a tight bond, nurtured through years of a shared love for heritage crafts and the annual gathering for the fall Fair.
The send off brought a mixture of laughter and tears. Cloth handkerchiefs were handed out as souvenirs. They proved to be very practical keepsakes.
There were musical tributes, as well as several heartfelt speeches about what the Tranthams have meant to the village. Befitting the spirit of the artist group, Jim Trantham was presented with a one-of-a-kind creation — a handpainted letter E.
The letter was one that had been used to spell out Village of Yesteryear on the side of the building. Today, a large banner is used instead of individual letters. Three of the artists had painted scenes on the letter, reflecting Jim’s craft, his family and home in the mountains, and his lifelong commitment to educating young people.
It was a fitting and emotional tribute. Good luck to Jim and his family.