Have you ever been to an arts festival? Even if you don’t consider yourself an art lover, there are a lot of things to enjoy at a festival like this: good weather (hopefully), a fun and lively atmosphere, food from local restaurants or food trucks, and live music.
And of course there’s art and inspiring creativity of all types in every price range: photography, painting, pottery, jewelry, and other things.
When my husband and I were dating, we went to several arts festivals. As we walked along, we talked about what we liked and why, and about our lives. We got to know each other at those festivals. And when one of us was considering buying a piece of art, we secretly wondered if the other person liked it, too—just in case we someday got married.
That was 13 years ago, and we have continued going to arts festivals ever since.
Last weekend, we went to the 65th Annual Fairhope Arts and Crafts Festival, an old and respected juried art show that draws artists from across the country. Although Mart had been to the festival before, I hadn’t. A friend of ours, artist Beverly Key who I’ve written about before, often talks about what a wonderful town Fairhope is; her father lived there for many years before he passed away. I’ve wanted to visit it for a while, now, and Festival weekend was the perfect time.
The weather was beautiful: blue skies, bright sunshine, and a light breeze. The town of Fairhope, located on the eastern shore of Mobile Bay, is as charming and pretty as Beverly said, with interesting architecture, hanging baskets and pots of flowers everywhere, an active arts community, great shops, and friendly people.
After our scrumptious breakfast at Julwin’s, where people “come for the bacon and stay for the eggs” (and, I would add, the blueberry pancakes), we started with the artists’ booths right outside the restaurant and kept going through the main streets of Fairhope where the booths continued.
In no time, we had gifts for several people on our Christmas list and a few small things for ourselves, too, including glass pieces, photography, and pottery. We talked to several artists along the way, learning about how they create their work, why they chose certain materials for to include, where their favorite sites are for taking photographs, and more. A couple of hours later, we stopped off at Mr. Gene’s Beans, a coffee and ice cream shop, for their famous Fairhope Float and a little sit-down break.
After that came one of the best parts of our day: meeting up with some good friends from home and their good friends from Mobile. But that’s a post for another day.
If you’re looking for a new way to get outdoors and enjoy the beauty of spring, go to an arts festival in your area. Or do what we did: find a festival in a town or city you’d like to visit and make a weekend or overnight getaway of it. You just might bring home a new treasure that will remind you of the beauty you saw and experienced there.
Do you have a favorite arts festival or event? Have you ever bought a piece of art while on vacation? I’d love to hear in the comments below.
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