The downtown parks were filled on Saturday with folks gathering to celebrate agriculture and cultural arts at the 2nd Harvest Arts Festival.
“It was a great day!” exclaimed Victoria Gaitten, executive director of Metter-Candler Chamber of Commerce. “Agriculture is a big part of our economy and our culture, and it is great to see so many people come out to celebrate the role it plays in our community.”
In tribute to agriculture, a tractor display was held and youngsters were enchanted by the farm animals at the petting zoo, coordinated by the Grimes and Boyett families. Metter Farm Market provided a pumpkin patch, and children took their turn in the hay bale maze and bowling among hay bales.
Attendees also celebrated cultural arts, taking part in a number of interactive arts booths including face painting, air dry clay, bubble art, flower art, chalk art, tree art gallery, paint-a-pumpkin and more.
Grilled hamburgers and hot dogs were served, along with barbecue while attendees browsed the arts and crafts booths and enjoyed the musical talents of Straight from the Heart Bluegrass Band, Grace McBride, Allison Chassereau and Danny Carter.
As a new attraction this year, attendees were joined in the park by guests who were stuffed -- not with food, but with hay. The inaugural Scarecrow Stroll featured scarecrows designed by Bi-Lo, Wiggles & Giggles, Headquarters, Candler County Courthouse, Pineland Telephone Cooperative, B & M Pool Spa & Patio, Kindred Yoga and Queensborough National Bank & Trust.
Judges evaluated the scarecrows and awarded the top prize to Wiggles and Giggles, followed by Headquarters and B&M Pool.
This year’s event was made possible, Gaitten said, through the volunteer efforts of committee members Jason Grimes, Cortney King, John Milligan, Bubba Longgrear and Danny Carter; volunteers Tiffany Miller, Jaci Berry, Braleigh Higgs, Ellen Durden, Leah Hackle, Tania Johnson, Makia Wynn, Gabrielle Green, Paul Ferre, Kiarra Lovett, Justice Bird, Essence Mitchell, Jada Bryson, Kayla Griffin, Chandler Williams, Ajayla Shaw, Jazmine Jackson, Taylor Griggs and Jada Roberts; and sponsors, Candler County Farm Bureau, Metter Bank, Colley Tractor, Daniels-Bishop Chevrolet, Growers Supply, Candler Gin, GA Farm Center and Gail Ward.
The annual Harvest Arts Festival is sponsored jointly by Metter-Candler Chamber of Commerce, Candler County Young Farmers and the Candler County Arts Council.
Already, the group is planning to make next year’s celebration even bigger and better.
“We are looking for ways to expand the festival,” Gaitten said. “I encourage anyone to call me with any ideas they have to celebrate agriculture and arts in Candler County.” Gaitten can be reached at 912-685-2159.