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SpringFest returns to West Jefferson Saturday

Originally published: Apr. 17, 2013
Last modified: Apr. 17, 2013

Jesse Campbell

The Ashe County Arts Council is seeking volunteers to make the 29th Annual Spring Fest arts and crafts celebration a culturally enriching day for local families. 

The day of art and entertainment begins at 9 a.m. at the Early Learning Center – the former West Jefferson Elementary School gym – and concludes at 2 p.m. 

Admission is free of charge, but there will be costs for concessions. 

There will also be a nominal charge of $5 to silkscreen a T-shirt with the festival logo designed by Pat Morrison.

Arts council Executive Director Jane Lonon said volunteers are needed to supervise the creativity of children at more than 24 hands-on activities. 

“It doesn’t take any particular artistic talent to volunteer,” said Lonon. “This is about the children. We need someone to give them materials, to encourage them, and let the children do the work.”

The theme for this year’s installment is “Growing Up with the Arts,” and will feature an array of activities including clay sculpturing, printmaking, fabric art and jewelry making, music, face painting and live entertainment, said a press release. 

Additionally, the activities will feature creative projects focused on nature. 

Spring Fest’s popular talent show will also return this year and will feature performances by local dance groups and individual ensembles. 

Slots are still available for the talent show and interested individuals should call the arts council at (336) 846-ARTS. 

A magician and petting zoo will also be available to round up the day of fun and art, said Lonon. 

Helen White, former teacher and professional musician, will be entertaining the students with guitar music and songs, said a press release. 

Lonon said Spring Fest began in 1984 in the Fellowship Hall of Mt. Jefferson Presbyterian Church as a way to “showcase” the arts council’s assets and programs.

Since then, Lonon said the annual arts bash “has mushroomed” to much more, all the while exposing children to new forms of art. 

Shortly after its first run, Spring Fest later moved to WJES before relocating to Mountain View Elementary and its current location in downtown West Jefferson. 

“The even is for the children and the artwork they’ve created by using a means of creativity and self expression,” said Lonon. 

In addition to the hands-on activities, Lonon said local schools will bring companion pieces students have made to complement the arts council’s ongoing “Young at Art” program, said Lonon. 

“This is another opportunity to showcase child art classes, as well as traditional classroom extracurricular studies,” said Lonon. 

While Spring Fest has changed over the years, Lonon said the vision has remained constant. 

“It’s really important for community members to see and be supportive of what the kids can do,” said Lonon. “It is still an open house concept. 

For more information on Spring Fest or how to volunteer call the arts council at (336) 846-ARTS. 

Spring Fest is funded, in part, by a grant from the Grassroots Arts Program from the North Carolina Arts Council, a state agency and sponsored locally by the Ashe County Arts Council, said a press release. 

For more information and stories, see Ashe Mountain Times.