PHOTO: David Peacock and Charlie Kaser pose at the beginning of the Bootlegger’s Bash in front of Carnton on Friday, September 28, 2018.//Brooke Wanser

By BROOKE WANSER

The rain ceased and the night grew cool Friday during the Bootlegger’s Bash at Carnton, which drew 300 people to the historic plantation.

Half a dozen regional distillers turned out for the annual whiskey tasting event, which included a Southern dinner and live music and dancing in the garden at Carnton.

Franklin-raised Leigh Bawcom is to thank for conceiving the event that grows more popular each year.

After working at Carnton, Bawcom saw a need for a laid-back fundraiser. Now the Director of Member Engagement at Williamson Inc., Bawcom still runs an events company on the side.

“I think this is, by far, the best Bootlegger’s Bash that we’ve ever had!” said Battle of Franklin Trust president and CEO Eric Jacobson, to whoops and applause.

Growing somber, he asked the crowd to think about their surroundings, the site of one of the bloodiest battles of the Civil War.

“If you had been here 150-plus years ago, you would not want to be here,” he said. “There was terrible carnage here.”

Funds from this year’s event will go to the $150,000 renovation of Carnton’s springhouse. The 200-year old structure even survived the flooding of 2010.

“That ground, that building, that water, was sustenance, it was life,” during the battle, Jacobson said.

A lively auction sprung up; with a 12-person Carnton dinner party at stake, two bidders won at $3,200 each.

Whiskey samplings were provided by Leiper’s Fork Distillery, H. Clark Distillery, Corsair Distillery, Big Machine Vodka, Prichard’s Distillery, Stillhouse, Tenn South Distillery, and Clayton James Tennessee Whiskey. Martin’s Bar-B-Que provided a pig roast dinner.

Check out photos from the event below:

Patrons gathered in the garden outside Carnton to sip libations.//Brooke Wanser

From left: event chairs Tim and Bess Kearns, Nancy and Eric Jacobson, Battle of Franklin Trust president and CEO.//Brooke Wanser

From left: John Schuck, Richard Broming, Harrison Schuck, Kelly Frey.

From left: Dave and Deedie Milner, Leigh Bawcom, Chelli and Bill Montgomery.//Brooke Wanser

The tasting area was crowded throughout the event.//Brooke Wanser

Big Machine Vodka was among the vendors./Brooke Wanser

From left: JJ and Samantha Powell, distiller Heath Clark, Ashley Larcinese, Chris Burger.//Brooke Wanser

After sipping whiskey, patrons enjoyed dinner from Martin’s Bar-B-Que under a tent.//Brooke Wanser

Battle of Franklin Trust CEO Eric Jacobson speaks about the fundraising efforts for Carnton’s springhouse while recognizing chair Tim Kearns.//Brooke Wanser

Kearns looks on while Williamson County Commissioner David Landrum led a rousing live auction for a 12-person dinner party at the plantation.//Brooke Wanser

Williamson County Commissioner Matt Williams and Heather Williams, with Karla Landrum and commissioner David Landrum.//Brooke Wanser

The night ended with live music and dancing.//Brooke Wanser