By Angela Gazzillo
Avery County’s Fine Art and Master Crafts Festival will return for its 25th year this Friday and Saturday, July 15-16, where over 60 hand selected artisans will showcase their unique work.
The free event will be held from 1-6 p.m. Friday and from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday.
Located in front of the Historic Banner Elk Elementary School in downtown Banner Elk, tourists and locals alike can spend the day browsing through the wide selection of handcrafted fine art, eating good food, shopping and meeting new people, as well as recognizing some familiar faces.
Over 90 percent of the vendors that come to the festival are from out of town, which adds an element of diversity to the event. The artists featured at the festival, both new and returning, are handpicked and invited to participate through a selective juried process.
Everything is handcrafted, and the variety of work available will include mixed media, jewelry, sculpture, blown and stained glass, pottery, painting, photography, textiles, unique craft, furniture and wood.
Melynda Martin Pepple, executive director of Avery County Chamber of Commerce, said the festival welcomes between 3,000 and 4,000 people every year.
“We get calls all though the year with folks wanting to know the dates so they can plan their mountain trips around the festival” Pepple said. “We have repeaters that have come back for 15 or 20 years, so we try to place people in the same spot if we can.”
In addition to the uniqueness of crafts at the festival, Pepple said visitors can look forward to the beautiful weather (a huge draw for folks visiting from out of town) as well as the friendliness of the people.
“The festival is important because it brings attention to what our county has to offer,” Pepple said. “People are coming from all over because they love this area. I’m excited to promote and talk about the beautiful area we live in and encourage people to return.”
In case you cannot make the festival this weekend, the second part of the festival will be held August 12-13.
For more information, call 828-898-5606 or visit averycounty.com.
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