When Keith and Chrissy Heard first saw Bryn Bella during a drive through Columbus, they decided the antebellum home on Stinson Creek Road was the place for them.
More than three years later, that decision came to fruition as the couple was named honorary chair of the 2009 Columbus Arts and Preservation Forum Antiques Show and Sale. The annual event began Thursday at the Trotter Convention Center.
The Heards were recognized for their work in maintaining and preserving Bryn Bella, which was built around 1849.
“We are flattered to receive this award. When I saw the place, it just took my breath away,” Chrissy Heard said.
Keith Heard, a native of Brooksville, said he was pleased to receive the honor.
“Columbus is a town I came to when I was a kid, and it is a place I have wanted to come back to. This event is a tradition here in Columbus, and it is an honor for us to be a part of this,” he said.
Judge Gayle Guynup was presented the Restoration Award for her work in preserving the former Oddfellows building, converting it into apartments.
“This community is very welcoming to someone from the outside. I wanted to be able to contribute to the community, but also have something that is a sound investment,” she said.
Columbus Air Force Base was presented the Service Award for its contribution to the community. Col. George Ross accepted the award for CAFB.
“I want to thank Columbus for this wonderful award. It is a true honor to receive it. There is a great relationship between the community and the base,” he said.
This marks the 41st year of the event, said Nancy Carpenter, director of the Columbus Cultural Heritage Foundation.
“The money raised from this event is going towards restoration of the Tennessee Williams Welcome Center,” Carpenter said.
Those attending enjoyed good food, fellowship and jazz music provided by Mike Brown”s group. Brown is an instructor at the Department of Music at Mississippi State University.
Local antique vendors, as well as vendors from other states including Kentucky and Alabama, are taking part.
Emma Young, owner of Emma Young Antiques of Bowling Green, Ky., said this is her first visit to the Columbus event.
“I couldn”t ask for the people to be any nicer. This is a wonderful thing,” she said.
Jennifer Miller, owner of the Painted Lady Bed and Breakfast in Columbus, had numerous antique items on display.
“This is something I have always wanted to do, and this event is a way to get your name out,” she said.
Robert Snow, owner of Waverley Mansion, said he has been coming to the event since it started.
“I know many of these dealers. This is a great display of community spirit. This year”s show is great so far,” he said.
More events are events are scheduled for today, Saturday and Sunday. For more information, contact the Columbus Convention and Visitors Bureau at 662-329-1191, or visit www.columbus-ms.info.
Allen Baswell was previously a reporter for The Dispatch.
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