Winner Daryl Freed
Daryl Freed wins 1st Place

June 2, 2010 - 2010 Spring Arts Festival in Blairsville, Georgia

The 2010 Downtown Spring Arts & Crafts Festival brought entertainment, shopping opportunities, and beautiful artwork to Blairsville, Georgia. Over 60 fine artists and craftsmen were chosen to participate in the recent event that included every discipline from candle making to woodcarving. Everything from original oil paintings to handcrafted pillowcases could be purchased at the Union County festival.

Judges Al Garnto, Carol Duckworth, and Gail Novak had a large pool of talent to choose from but finally agreed that Daryl Freed deserved first place over all. His artistic talents, recycled driftwood pieces, and wood carvings were awarded a cash prize and big blue ribbon.

Other favorites included Laurie Alpert's floor canvases, wind chimes by Charlene Wooten, jewelry by Cecilia Carstens, and Paula Millhouse's decorative furniture.

Many vendors said people were out to spend money. One happy shopper said, "I have to buy presents for birthdays and Christmas. Why not pick up good deals and support the arts at the same time?"

Visitors to Blairsville, Georgia enjoyed a student art show, demos by chainsaw artist Mal McEwen, performances by Blairsville School of Dance, the Smokie Mountain Melodies, the Parker Brothers, Pickin' Partners, Resurrecting Kenny, John C. Campbell Folk School Cloggers, Grafted by Grace, and the Sweetheart, Sweet Tart, Tiny Tart Cloggers.

Pirates raided Blairsville, Georgia on Saturday. Fitzgerald and his Past Tyme "troupe" of actors encouraged audience participation during the festival. Caribbean dress added to the atmosphere and created plenty of great photo ops.

Face painting was an extra bonus and turned out to be a highlight of the festival. The Fancy Faces lady amazed everyone with her talent and patience. Children and adults alike waited in line to get their faces decorated.

Venders enjoyed Blairsville's friendly hospitality. Downtown Development Authority of Blairsville volunteers and board members organized a fantastic hospitality area with free homemade goodies, free water and soft drinks, and a place to rest in the air conditioning. Venders said, "Blairsville is the only place that gives us a welcome like this. It is greatly appreciated."

During the two day event, special food vendors included the Blairsville Lions Club with hamburgers and hot dogs, and the Women's Enrichment Center with barbeque. Funnel cakes, kettle corn, ice cream, and pizza by the slice were also sold during the Spring Arts & Crafts Festival. Many local businesses stayed open beyond normal operating hours for the event.

Barbara Bussolari - Best of Show Overall
Barbara Bussolari wins Best of Show Overall with this artistic creation

May 30, 2009 - Spring Arts and Crafts Festival award winners

The recent Spring Arts and Crafts Festival awards committee would like to announce the winners from each adult and student category.

Adults: Best of Show Overall - Barbara Bussolari, First place Fine Art - David Goldhagen, Second Place Fine Art -Ted Cooper, First Place Fine Craft - Mike Sweeney, Second Place Fine Craft - Mark Wingertsahn, First Place Home Craft - Skip Staab, Second Place Home Craft - Laurie Elpert-Etner, First Place Home Industry - Evelyn Brendle, and Second Place Home Industry - Michael and Joellen Fisher.

Union County Middle School Students: First Place Flowers - Laura Beth Rogers, Second Place Flowers - Jackson Burkes, Third Place Flowers - Alexis Bruno, First Place 3-D Clay - Paul Dyer, Second Place 3-D Clay - Roger Brown, Third Place 3-D Clay - Keaton Eite Miller, Miscellaneous First Place - Amy Cheek, Miscellaneous Second Place - Jacob Lloyd, Miscellaneous Third Place - Samantha Gentry.


Art on the square

May 31, 2009 - Fun in the sun at Spring Arts and Crafts Festival in Blairsville, Georgia

Glorious weather, friendly people, and lots of art covered the Blairsville Square during the 2nd Annual Spring Arts and Crafts Festival. This two day celebration of the arts featured an "art walk" of regional art exhibitors and crafts people, live demonstrations, entertainment, good food, a student art exhibit, a hospitality center (free cookies and soft drinks), and a sculpture garden.

The unveiling of the Sculpture Garden was a highlight of the Arts Festival. Participating artists include Arthur Milican, Jr. (Fairy House), Gregory Johnson (who also did all of the bronzes at the Blairsville War Memorial), Paige Patterson (the Union County High School Landscape Department Student Art Project) with help from teacher's assistant Nick DiMartino, Dennis Bradley (Iron Horse from recycled steel), Mal McEwen Chainsaw Artist, and Bacinto di Nettino ( Neptune 's Basin). All sculptors are Georgia residents and all pieces in the sculpture garden are available for purchase (contact the Chamber of Commerce for details).

Art exhibits included colorful pieces by internationally known glass artist David Goldhagen, whimsical birdhouses and functional pottery by Mark Wingertsahn, native crafts by Rain Ferguson, mixed media paintings by Linda Denison, pine needle baskets by Elizabeth Ann Lane, and exceptional pen art by Ronald Moore.

Sherrill Knighton offered aprons, bib, and shirt savers, Barbara Cone displayed her award winning paintings, and Skip Staab brought his refined rustic furniture to the festival. There were painted gourds, wildlife and pet portraits, folk art pottery, nature photography, candles, soaps, natural beauty products, birdhouses, wooden bowls, silver Peruvian jewelry, chainsaw wood sculptures, hand-woven sculpture dolls, Batik paintings on handmade paper, water fountains, bone jewelry, dream catchers, quilted purses, woodcarvings, scroll saw work, and beaded jewelry.

The entertainment line-up included Chip and Tish Arnold on guitar and banjo, several performances by the Blairsville School of Dance, the Mountain Top Travelers, the John C. Campbell Folk School Cloggers, Mal McEwen chainsaw artist, and favorite hometown duo Cody King and CJ Townsend (Wake of Autumn). Other family activities such as face painting, balloon animals, and magic shows went on throughout the event.

Many thanks go to all the businesses, organizations, and volunteers who helped make the Spring Arts and Crafts Festival a success. Thanks to Music Man Sam Ensley and the Union County Historical Society, the Downtown Development Authority of Blairsville, the Promotions Committee, the Blairsville Police Department, the Mayor's Office, the Blairsville Union County Chamber of Commerce, Sharry Morrison and Linda Guenn (the Sculpture Garden), The Flower Garden (hospitality area), Lake Nottely Improvement Association members, the Union County School system art teachers, the hard working folks at Seasons Inn, and other individual businesses for their support and dedication.

Cody King and CJ Townsend
Cody King and CJ Townsend

May 31, 2008 - Art, Music, and Dancing at the Downtown Blairsville Spring Arts and Crafts Festival

The Spring Arts and Crafts Festival showcases local talent from Blairsville, Georgia. The recent Downtown Blairsville Spring Arts and Crafts Festival showcased a great line-up of local talent. Musicians and dancers performed throughout the event with classical flute, old time banjo picking, accomplished guitarists, singers, and dancers entertaining the crowd.

Music Man Sam Ensley went solo on Saturday. He had the audience tapping their feet and listening with rapt attention to his clean guitar style and the witty words of his original lyrics. Sam is famous in Blairsville for his years as a dedicated school teacher, his instrumental role as organizer of the Friday Night Concert Series, as Union County Historical Society President, and as member of the local Bluegrass band Roots & Branches.

C.J. Townsend and Cody King surprised everyone with their talent, charisma, and unique style. These two talented young men went from performing soulful gospel to playing rocking Johnny Cash tunes and back again. C.J. and Cody were definitely a hit and are expected to go far in the entertainment industry.

A highlight of the entertainment was the jamming session that went on late Saturday afternoon. Sam Ensley invited C.J. Townsend and Cody King to play along with him. It was history in the making. Later Ensley said, "Those two boys not only kept up with me, they were able to improvise. I was impressed."

Angela Harkins, well known flautist from Union County and recent graduate of UCHS, teamed up with Andrea Jordan for several performances during the festival. The sound of classical music on the square drew a round of applause from people stopping by to hear these two talented young ladies.

Chip and Tish Arnold drew crowds with their renditions of old time music. Several other musicians joined with them to create a stringed instrument melody that was a delightful addition to the festival.

The Blairsville School of Dance routines were certainly crowd pleasers. The young dancers, under the direction of Angela Puleo, gave onlookers a taste of ballroom, hip-hop, clogging, East Coast Swing, and more. What a thrill to see all of this exciting activity on the square!

The DDA Promotions Committee was extremely pleased with the overall success of the festival and with the entertainment line-up (although several Barbershop Quartet groups were cancelled on Sunday due to storm damage). Blairsville is not giving up on having some Barbershop music on the square and hopes to see the Timeless Barbershop Quartet and the Foothills Connection Barbershop Quartet in the near future. Hopefully all of these talented local musicians and dancers will plan on participating in next year's festival.

Art, Music, and Dancing