TroyFest fun for all

Published 12:00 am Saturday, April 3, 2004

A great day for Troy.

That's the way Shelia Jackson, public relations director for the city, described the second annual TroyFest on the square in downtown Troy Saturday.

The arts and crafts festival is an annual event held in memory of Jean Thompson Lake, a noted Troy folk artist.

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A large, steady crowd of shoppers and browsers enjoyed the food and festivities of the day and the best part was that families were there together, Jackson said.

"We want TroyFest to be a family affair and it was all that we hoped for," she said. "A lot of families came together and they all seemed to have a great time. The expanded Kids Corner was a big hit with children and added fun and excitement to the festival."

The Troy Public Library also got into the kids' act with a storytelling and coloring booth.

"We wanted to promote reading among children by having a place where they could go to have a story read to them," said Teresa Colvin, children's librarian. "Several Troy State University education students volunteered as readers along with some very special puppet readers. The children had a good time listening to the stories and the children who could read, took turns reading to the college students."

When the stories were done, the kids had the opportunity to display their artistic talent with crayons and they all showed a lot of promise as budding artists, Colvin said.

Jackson said the quality of the artwork at TroyFest was unbelievable.

"I was amazed at the talent of these artists and craftsmen," she said. "We had a good variety of arts and crafts from paintings and stained glass to woodwork and pottery. We also had vendors with jewelry, purses and handmade clothes. All in all, it was a good day."

The Troy Arts Council presented awards in the areas of fine arts and crafts.

Bill Hill won the Best of the Show award. Elsie Prather took the blue ribbon in fine arts and Carol McCrady the red ribbon. The first place winner in the crafts division was Jo Staley and George McCreery took second place honors.

Five merit awards were presented to John Warr, Dela Stone and Jennifer Donbeck, Gail Carroll, Beryl Chestnutt and Andrew McCall.

Chestnutt, who owns and operates the Highland Gallery in Montgomery, is a popular exhibitor wherever she goes. Her garden goyles, made from anything that will rust, always attract a crowd.

Chestnutt, a city council member, is an advocate of recycling and uses recyclable materials, from bottle caps to tin cans and rake tines in her art.

"I have a pile of tin cans and other materials rusting in my backyard right now," she said, laughing.

Chestnutt is no stranger to Troy arts festivals and was a familiar face at the Jean Lake Festival which was held at the Pioneer Museum of Alabama prior to 2003.

"I really like the location of the show," she said of the downtown square. "Today, it has been a wind tunnel but no one can control that. We have had a good crowd and we've stayed busy. Winning a merit award really made my day."

Local woodworker Dewight Ward is a new hobbyist. Saturday was his second show in Troy.

"I get to see a lot of people and I guess that I enjoy the fellowship about as much as anything," he said. "We've had a lot of fun. It's a good show."

Ramona Dunn agreed that TroyFest was a fun place to be.

"I really like it down here on the square," she said. "It seems more personal. I like the area being enclosed where you can walk in the streets and around town. It's wonderful. There is a lot to see and enjoy. I've had a good time already and I'm going to be here for a while."

A highlight of any festival is the entertainment and TroyFest was no exception.

"We had outstanding entertainment on the stage all day with dancing and singing that kept the crowd around," Jackson said. "We appreciate everyone who helped to make TroyFest 2004 a great success and all of the vendors that participated and all of those who spent a part of their day with us."