18th annual Jean Lake Festival

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, September 11, 2002

to be held first weekend in May

Staff Report

Those who wish for the good ol’ days can step back in time the first weekend in May at the annual Jean Lake Festival at the Pike Pioneer Museum.

Sign up for our daily email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

Even though the festival attracts some of the best artists and craftsmen in the area, it is much more than an arts and crafts show. The show is nestled among the pioneer village’s homestead and show-goers have an opportunity to experience life as it was in a slower simpler time.

The atmosphere that is created by the museum site makes the Jean Lake Festival one of the most unique festivals in the area. Some come for a short while but most take advantage of the spring sunshine, the fellowsip of friends and neighbors and the many activities on the grounds, and stay a long while.

Many of the exhibits at the festival are working exhibits with the artists and craftsmen demonstrating their talents.

The Jean Lake Festival is held each year in honor of Jean Lake, a tlented Pike County artist and a friend to many. Jean Lake died of cancer, one day after her father was buried.

Georgia Thomspon, Jean Lake’s mother, remembered her daughter with pride and shared some of the memories in a 1997 interview.

"When I look at her paintings I can see her again," Thompson said. "I could always see Jean in the people she painted - happy, carefree, loving and caring."

One of Lake’s favorite place to paint was at her kitchen table, that she called her studio. Lake’s mother, like many of her friends, sat across from her at the kitchen table and watched her paint the masterpieces, for which she would one day be remembered.

There was nothing pretentious about Jean Lake, her mother said. She was genuine and down to earth, and everyone who came in contact with her loved her.

Lake’s love of people and her God-given talent were a strong combination. Anyone who saw her work was drawn to it.

"Cars would be lined up all down the street with people from Montgomery and other places who had come to see her paintings," Thompson said. "They really appreciated what she did. An, oh Lord, I appreciated it so much and I appreciated her so much. I can’t express myself enough to say what she did for people and I can’t tell you what she meant to me. She was priceless."

The love and appreciation that Jean Lake’s mother felt for her was felt by many people in Pike County and surrounding areas, and that is what makes the long-running Jean Lake Festival a success every year.

This year the 18th annual Jean Lake Festival will be held May 6 and 7 on the grounds of the Pike Pioneer Museum.

This year’s festival will be a festival of education about the namesake of the festival. Plans are being made now for area students to dress in period costume and share history and antedotes about the life of Jean Lake. By educating the community and visitors to the festival, the Jean Lake committee thinks the festival will become even more successful.

Inside Pike Pioneer Museum there will be an exhibit of the work of Jean Lake so people can see first hand the quality of art she produced.

On Saturday, the Southeast United States Jazz Celebration will perform at the amphitheatre on the grounds. The winner of the contest will be the opening act for the culminating event for the city of Troy’s Millennium celebration that evening.

Although many of the demonstrations will be similar to years past, new artists have been lined up for the event. The children’s area will be improved, thanks to the work of the Troy Junior Women’s League. The Troy Junior Women’s League will assist the children in hands-on activities creating pioneer crafts.

The idea of this year’s festival is to make people more knowledgeable about the history of the festival and the contributions Jean Lake made to Pike County and the art world.