Booths of more than 200 vendors will fill Mulberry Street this weekend when the Mulberry Street Arts and Crafts Festival returns for the 44th year.
We are going into our 44th festival, said Mae Thurston, executive director of the Middle Georgia Art Association, which hosts the event. We are one of the oldest festivals around and definitely one of the largest arts and crafts festival in the area. Every year, we feature fine visual arts and crafts and many of our patrons come back year after year to get more of their favorite items. Its a great time to shop for gifts for people, for fun trinkets and for really nice art pieces that you could put in your home or office.
Vendors run the gambit from jewelry makers and painters to furniture makers and photographers.
This year, we have more than 200 (vendors) and some are still calling to get in. We have vendors from all over the country and we are considered one of the better festivals to attend by vendors. We have painters, photographers, pottery and outdoor sculpture for the garden. We have crafts-people who make wind chimes, stained glass, jewelry, outdoor furniture and so much more. One of our requirements is that everything is of the highest quality and all of our crafts are made by the vendors themselves, Thurston said. Its a real point of pride -- you can talk to the craftsman at every stall.
In addition to crafts, people look forward to the food.
We have people who sell food items that are favorites like kettle corn, nuts and things like that. Lots of people come back every year to get those, she said.
The event helps to fund the art associations gallery and both it and the Cherry Blossom Festival have been bolstered cross over attendance.
This is our main fundraiser for the year and helps fund our main gallery. It has grown from just a few tables to one of the best festivals in the Southeast, Thurston said. Quite a few years back, the board of MGAA and the Cherry Blossom Festival board decided to promote both events at the same time. The festival crosses over and allows people to do something else. People can look at arts and crafts, and then attend an event at the Cherry Blossom Festival for a while.
With all the local artists displaying their work, the festival is good advertisement for the work MGAA does.
The gallery itself has different exhibits every month, Thurston said. Our mission is to strive to support artists in all stages. We accept artists in all levels and offer workshops and information to our members. We have meetings every second Tuesday of the month that covers all aspects of the industry -- from how-tos to marketing and legal issues. This is also a great networking opportunity for the artists, she said.
To learn more about MGAA, visit www.middlegeorgiaart.org.
Mulberry Street Arts and Crafts Festival
Where: Mulberry Street, downtown Macon
When: 10 a.m.-5 p.m. March 29-30
Cost: Free admission
Information: www.middlegeorgiaart.org or www.cherryblossom.com