Tryon Arts &Crafts Fall Festival success despite the weather

Published 4:40 pm Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Neither Saturdays bone-chilling cold nor Sundays tent-flipping winds could unravel the success of the second annual Tryon Arts and Crafts Festival, held Oct. 17 and 18 at Harmon Field. Attendance ranged from 600 to 700 people each day.

I dont do a lot of shows, but Ill be back again next year because Tryons a neat area, and I get a free meal at Moms, joked Bob Child of Ugly Boy Flutes, whose Native American-style carved wood instruments won first place at the 2008 show.

Its not just the high quality of the stuff that stands out but its variety, added the semi-retired television meteorologist, speaking of the works of the 45 artisans at the show. Its not plain vanilla but rocky road meets daiquiri ice.

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The sound of his flutes whether he was playing or one of his customers was trying out instruments drifted between the tents. It was a counterpoint to music provided by Phil & Gaye Johnson, Hickory Grove, PaddyWhack, Woody Cowan and the Music Makers, Ramsey & Daugherty, Mark Miller, and the kids from YAM (Young Appalachian Musicians).

Russ Jordan, entertainment organizer, said, Several entertainers mentioned that they had a great time despite the weather.&bsp; The festival was very well organized and a pleasure to be a part of.

But art was the principal reason for the weekend and the juried offerings ranged from paintings, pastels, prints, pottery, and photography to jewelry of all sorts, turned wooden bowls, stained glass, elegant dyed silk, brawny cutting boards, and more.

Indeed, the shows organizers, Valerie Miller, Festival Chair, and Beth Romney, Festival Co-Chair, were able to increase the number of artisans from 20 last year to this years 45 without a drop-off in quality. We are very pleased with the level of craftsmanship and the attendance in spite of this weather, said Valerie Miller.

Lucinda Dulin Pittman of Saluda, a potter whose brilliantly colored creations were a hit last year as well as this year, said she, too, will be back in 2010. I did well overall despite the weather. There was a great response to my work, a lot more interest. And the people who put this on were the most helpful, most accommodating of any show Ive been to, and Ive been to 21 years worth of shows.

Following a soaking rain on Friday, volunteers brought out bale after bale of hay on Saturday to help line the tents and pathways. There was some damage from overnight winds which the festival staff helped repair, and they had to spring back into action late Sunday afternoon when strong gusts blew over several tents that hadnt been adequately anchored.

Spartanburg resident Gabriela Baumgartner of Stone-Good Jewelry, who took second place in this years juried competition and needed help to recover from wind damage, was upbeat despite so-so sales.

Saturdays women in their fur-collared coats tried on few necklaces. Sunday was better, said the artisan, who studied architecture in her other life and took up jewelry two years ago.

Tryon was a double discovery for Linda-Marie Miller of Inman, S.C. Not only did her jewelry win first prize in the competition but the Tryon Arts and Crafts people were so impressed that they invited her to do some teaching at workshops.

Miller was most of the way to a bachelor of fine arts degree when, afraid I would starve, I abandoned my dream, switched to accounting and had a successful career as a CPA.

A little over two years ago, Miller retired, and her husband built her a jewelry studio next to his music recording studio. In that brief period of time, she has mastered an encyclopedias worth of metal working techniques. For me, this show rates high. I like the people who attend, the other artisans, and the show staff. I love the atmosphere.

Added Saludas John Orlando of the Anvil Board Co., who specializes in cutting boards: Saturday was a little slow but I had a good day Sunday. And what a wonderful staff. All my concerns and needs were met. I will most certainly be back next year.

Rebecca Davis, Tryon Little Theatre said We had a great time; despite cold, rain, and wind we laughed all weekend and made lots of new contacts and friends.

TLT offered participants a chance to dress up and have fun with period costumes and hats. The winner of the TLT drawing for tickets to their next show The Complete Works of William Shakespeare Abridged was Deborah Justus of Flat Rock.

Food was provided for the even by several local restaruants. The festival, sponsored primarily by the Polk County Community Foundation Kirby Grand and Watson Flooring & Appliance , also received support from severl other local businesses.

Overall the festival was a wonderful event, not only for Tryon Arts and Crafts, but for our community, said Valerie Miller, Festival Chair. The 3rd Annual Fall Festival is scheduled for Oct. 16 and 17, 2010.