Ken Small of Alpharetta discovered a way to capture his childhood memories and passion for stadiums and bring them to life in a seventh grade required wood shop class. While most of his peers constructed standard bookcases as their final project, Ken meticulously recreated the horseshoe shaped Georgia Tech football stadium in multiple layers of wood.
This year, his Home Fields work is showcased alongside 85 carefully selected local and regional artists, craftsmen, gourmet food purveyors, and unique gift vendors at the sixth annual Elegant Elf Marketplace presented by the Sandy Springs Society.
An avid sports fan from a young age, furthering his penchant for stadiums, Ken built a career around sports, becoming a sports writer at the Miami Herald and then marketing director for the Miami Dolphins. This job would allow him to see virtually every NFL stadium in the United States up close and in person.
He found that in addition to stadiums, he was also fascinated with ballparks, especially the old ones built to fit city blocks allowing each to take on its own unique personality. Growing up in northern Illinois, he became especially fond of Comiskey Park where he would recall special times and memories with friends and family. When he learned they were to demolish Comiskey Park, Ken knew he needed a way to keep his fond memories and favorite ballpark alive.
“I grew up the biggest White Sox fan in America. When they tear down your favorite ballpark, they take a piece of your heart with it,” says Ken. “I wanted a way to recall my good times at Comiskey Park, and I wanted the Orange Bowl right alongside it.” So Ken put his vast knowledge to work creating Comiskey Park and the Orange Bowl out of wood for his own enjoyment. Before long Home Fields Inc. was born to the delight of stadium and sports fans of all ages across the country.
Today the Home Fields, Inc. operation recreates over 140 historically correct professional and college football and baseball stadiums as well as basketball arena replicas from engineered wood, each personally designed by Small. The space between the front and back layers of wood creates a stunning 3-D effect and is delicately lit with LED bulbs in the base of each case. Ken is especially proud of the personal history of each stadium that he includes on the back of the stadium. “I’m a stadium fanatic. From history to design and every last detail our replicas are 100% accurate,” states Ken.
Like Home Fields, all Elegant Elf Marketplace artisans are hand-selected for the “shop for a cause” fundraiser that takes place Saturday, November 5, from 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.; and Sunday, November 6, from 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. at Lake Forest Elementary School, 5920 Sandy Springs Circle. There is $5 entrance fee, free entrance for children 10 and under with easy access free parking. All proceeds benefit the Sandy Springs Society’s philanthropic grants program that this year funded over 25 non-profit organizations in the community.
In addition to one-of-a-kind vendors like Home Fields, adding to the experience is special entertainment and new attractions this year including student performances from local schools, authors, and a fashion show, highlighting the clothing and jewelry sold at the show. Shoppers will be able to reenergize themselves with a delicious lunch and snacks at the Polar Express Café and also purchase tickets for festive raffle packages.
For more information, visit us at SandySpringsSociety.org.