Nolensville's Historic District Buttercup Festival attracted thousands of people to Nolensville on Sunday, marking the first major festival to return to the town since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Dozens of arts, crafts and food vendors lined the streets of the historic district along with a variety of Nolensville’s nonprofit groups and the restaurants and shops that call the district home. 

The festival was rescheduled several times in 2020 due to the pandemic before it was eventually canceled, and this year the celebration was pushed back by one day due to the threat of rain.

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The rescheduling didn’t deter attendance, however, as crowds filled the historic district to shop local goods, connect with neighbors and take part in other attractions such as carnival games, the Miss Buttercup and Little Miss Buttercup Pageant, Music City Superstar singing competition, or listen to performances from musicians like the Judson Jazz Orchestra.

This year’s pageant drew a crowd of over 100 audience members and dozens of participants, ending with the crowning of the 2021 Little Miss Buttercup Avery Browne and 2021 Miss Buttercup Ella Cumberland.

One of the dozens of vendors was Nolensville’s Kellye Brock, who was working as a vendor for the first time at the festival. Brock sold a variety of seasonal sweet breads such as lemon zest with blueberries, pineapple coconut and chocolate banana through her home-baking business called Kellye’s Kitchen.

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“I baked 170 loaves and sold out by 2:30 p.m.,” Brock said. “I just baked as much as I could and I was scared because I had bread all over the living room, all over the kitchen — everywhere. I thought, oh my goodness I hope I sell all of this, so to sell out on this beautiful day was fantastic.”

Safety was also a key priority of the event with representatives on the ground from the Nolensville Police Department, Nolensville Volunteer Fire Department, Williamson County Sheriff’s Office, Nolensville Fire Department, Williamson County Emergency Communications and EMS and Nolensville Public Works.

That could be seen in the form of uniformed officers or in the use of a 360 degree camera to monitor traffic and the crowds.

“The county has loaned us their command post where we have dedicated dispatchers so all of the emergency services are playing a part in this from pre-planning to today to make this a safe event,” NPD Police Chief Roddy Parker said. ”It’s a huge deal for Nolensville.”

That command post, while modest in appearance inside of a single-wide trailer, housed everything needed for monitoring and communicating information to agencies across the country in the event of an emergency.

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“This is a tremendous relief to me to have all of the support, the resources and the man-power that these other agencies bring in,” Parker said, adding that he sees the first responder resources to continue to bee needed for future town events, especially as the town’s population and attractiveness to tourist grows.

“We’ve got a dedicated crew here for the event so Nolensville has an engine and a staff vehicle for response onsite and we’ve still got a crew back at our fire station and quarters and we’ve got an agreement with Brentwood [Fire and Rescue] to help us out with anything on the North side of town because getting through here with traffic might be a challenge,” NVFD Fire Chief Chris Allen said. “We’ve had an overwhelming turnout with kids wanting to get on the fire truck, and luckily it’s been fairly quiet today with just a couple of minor medical emergencies so we’re happy to be here

Buttercup Festival organizer Debbie Suttmiller said that behind the scenes the festival was organized by four people, with planning beginning in January and non-stop work in the weeks and hours before the festival opened at noon.

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“It’s turned out to be a fantastic event,” Suttmiller said. “I think it’s really cool that the Buttercup Festival was the first festival here 22 years ago and is the first festival of the year to get things started back again, so we’re really proud of that.”

“This just does so much for the Nolensville community and the Nolensville merchants and it’s just so fun,” Suttmiller said.

And as is tradition, money raised from the festival was donated to local nonprofits such as NVFD, Art Helps Cancer, Nolensville Food Pantry and two $1,000 scholarships were awarded to two high school seniors, Zachary Thomas and Samantha Viarengo.

"Nolensville rallied behind its passionate small-business owners and proud citizenry to enjoy the best Buttercup Festival yet," Nolensville Mayor Derek Adams said in an email. "We had perfect weather for an event that continues to unite our town and demonstrate everything that makes Nolensville special!"

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