Clayton Art Festival
by Randy Sells
Hurray, Hurray – It’s time for Celebrate Clayton!
On April 27 and 28, this Georgia mountain town will host its most popular art and fine crafts festival, known simply as Celebrate Clayton.
This premier spring event features the Artist Market on Main Street, Live Music at the Rock House, Kid’s Corner in Veteran’s Park, and festival food throughout. North and South Main becomes a pedestrian way with tents lining the street. Shop the Artist Market, where over 100 artists provide you with the best art and fine crafts from across the region. Painting, photography, pottery, folk art, jewelry, and much more.
Many favorites are returning, to name a few: Roger and Gail Marcengill - forged iron and copper work; Mike Wilson – handmade knives; Deborah Weinelt – copper jewelry; Jami Pederson – pottery; Beth and Butcher Martofel – metal yard art; Jerry Williamson – inlaid wooden boxes; Danny Young – Photography; and Alan Young – dry brush watercolor. Lots of artists new to the festival are exhibiting this year. You’ll have to come, meet them for yourself, and congratulate the winners of Best in Show, Judges’ Choice, and Producers’ Choice awards.
Relax to live music on the Rock House lawn. The great line-up this year includes several performers returning to the Rock House Stage: Sweet Charity, Mat Fried, Rabun County High School Band Ensemble, and Michael Jacobs. You’ll also hear many musicians who are new to the festival: Jack Ball on banjo; Dart Fifer on steel drums; and singers Doug Weiss, Richard Tunkle, and Martha and Gary Alexander. Many thanks to Hank Belew, who will be providing our sound system once again.
Kids will have a fun art experience in the Veterans Park, guided by RCHS students and sponsored by the North Georgia Arts Guild artists. They can be turned into “wild animals” by face painter Kristina Robak, and learn to play cigar box guitar with Mountain Man Musician Les Barnett.
Hungry? Treat the family to yummy festival food. A & P Food Truck serves up burgers, dogs, Philly cheese steak, and chicken tenders; A & L Shaved Ice also has soft pretzels; and Clayton Rotary will be handing out free ice cream. The restaurants on Main Street offer their usual yummy lunch and dinner items – you’ll find everything from beer, pizza, and barbecue to fine dining with fine wine. Local restaurants and wineries have donated gift certificates. A $1 raffle ticket buys you a chance to win free food at one of your favorite places. Even better, $5 will get you six tickets. You don’t need to be present to win.
You can buy tickets throughout the festival, or now at the Clayton Tribune. Celebrate Clayton is hosted by the North Georgia Arts Guild, a 501(c)3 non-profit organization. Proceeds from the festival fund scholarships for local Boy Scout and Girl Scout troops and talented Rabun County art students. All donations are tax-deductible. For more information, visit CelebrateClayton.com or contact Chairperson Kathy Ford, at (706) 212-9958.