There are seven main features of our GourdFest, all focused on our Mission – Education in Gourds
ONE: The Make and Take tables, for children of all ages. For a nominal fee, a kit bag is purchased, and then taken to one of the tables. There a Calabash Volunteer will provide the child with paints, brush, glitter, cording, and whatever else is needed to make the little gourd critter, shard necklace, or decorative hanging. The projects are designed so that when they are dry, the child can take it home. Some parents even purchase additional kits for later use.
TWO: There are free demonstrations, not only at the Calabash Demonstration Booth, but throughout the Fest booths. At the Demonstration Booth, Calabash members show how to clean, cut, and prepare a gourd, as well as some of the more popular methods of decoration. Throughout the Fest, there is gourd burning by accomplished artists, and everyone is more than willing to explain how a particular gourd item was produced.
THREE: The Exhibiting Artists and the Supply booths. The Calabash Club has a booth of its own, where all members can exhibit and sell. Other individual artists, sometimes in pairs, will take their own booth. The Fest is open to anyone doing gourds as an art form, not just Calabash members. Other booths have materials and books for sale.
FOUR: At the Information Booth, Calabash Volunteers provide general information about gourds and point out the various features of the GourdFest. They also pass out printed information about The Calabash Club, including a membership application.
FIVE: There is an Opportunity Drawing, consisting of art donated to the Fest by participating Club members, and afree door prize - a basket chock full of gourd goodies, including a gift certificate for a one year Calabash membership. Anyone who visits the information booth and fills out a free door prize drawing ticket has a chance at winning the free door prize.
SIX: Classes in Gourd Art. Each year, several professional gourd art teachers are recruited, to each teach a day class in a specific gourd technique. In 2015, we had Vickie Echols (Fancy Raffia Basket, Rainbow Swirls Basket); Kristy Dial (Fancy Shawl, Spirit Dreamer); and Jelena Clay (Hawaiian Sun, Fretwork Tropical Vase). Each class is about 6 to 8 students. Interested students should consult our web page, www.GourdFest.com to see who the teachers will be for 2016, what projects they are offering to teach, and to find an application for enrollment.
SEVEN: The People’s Choice Award. This year, after a hiatus of several years, we have decided to offer a People’s Choice feature. In this, any individual, not just gourd club members, can bring a piece of gourd art to display. Fest goers, The People, can peruse the display of gourds, and vote for the gourd of their choice. In a way, this is a competition, but there are no official judges. Everybody gets to vote for the gourd of their choice.