By Katie Benfield
Avery County will host the second half of its 24th annual Fine Art and Master Crafts Festival in front of the Historic Banner Elk School Friday through Sunday.
This weekend, enjoy fine wine and craft beer, as well as live music from the Dave Calvert Collective (formerly known as the Whip Daddys) from 4-8 p.m. on Friday and Steve Fearey from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday.
Melinda Martin Pepple, executive director of the Avery County Chamber of Commerce, said there will be a variety of exceptional and wonderful crafts for people to see.
“It’s different than other festivals. This festival has a bunch of unique and beautiful arts and crafts that everyone will love,” she said. “There’s a lot of different kinds of things to be offered, different varieties of art.”
The festival is overlooked by a jury, meaning that each vendor has to have their art approved before they can participate. They have to present their crafts to a committee, and then the committee has to approve each medium that’s brought to them.
The festival is split into two weekends, one in July and one in August, in order to work with each vendor’s schedule to ensure everyone’s ability to participate.
The purpose of the festival, according to Pepple, is to promote the community and the businesses throughout the community.
“The goal is to promote business here in Avery County. We have thousands of people coming in either as vendors or otherwise,” she said. “We want to promote the community, promote businesses and show people what we have to offer.”
Business and community aren’t the only things Avery County has to offer, however.
“The area that we live in is quite unique and extraordinary — guests and vendors will know right off the bat that we have a very spectacular area full of history and culture and a beautiful climate,” Pepple said. “They’re going to see that there’s a lot of creativity in this place and a lot of art.”
The festival will involve nearly 75 different vendors, ranging from pottery to jewelry and wood, stone and glass artwork. Not only this, but there will also be paintings, live art, baked goods, photography and all types of hand-made art mediums.
“Everything is hand-crafted and unique and individual,” Pepple said.
The Fine Art and Master Crafts Festival has been going on every year for 24 years, and each year is as successful, if not more so, than the year preceding it. There is always an abundance of vendors, along with an even greater abundance of guests and visitors to see the originality of every art medium that is presented at the festival.
“People like to see the uniqueness of other people’s art,” Pepple said. “It’s always so individual, and people are interested in seeing what other people can do.”
The festival is open to the public with free admission.
The days and times are as follows:
- Friday, Aug. 14, 2-8 p.m.
- Saturday, Aug. 15, 10 a.m.-5 p.m.
- Sunday, Aug. 16, 10 a.m.-4 p.m.
For more information, call 828-898-5605 or visit the Avery County website.