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One of a kind finds at the Kentuck Festival of the Arts

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By Wayne Lazarus on September 21st, 2010

Categories: Linda's Travel Articles

Walking through the booths of folk art at the Kentuck Festival of the Arts is an adventure — you never know what will be next. Paintings on wood, tin and canvas present themselves, some life-sized. You may encounter a reptile made of bottle caps skulking through the grass or a six-foot tall statue sculpted of metal pipes. There will be political comment, religious fervor and patriotism. But one thing it will never be is mundane.

Sam McMillen

Where else but in the Deep South will you find hundred of nationally recognized folk artists gathered under the trees? The Kentuck Festival of the Arts has been held in Northport, Alabama (just outside Tuscaloosa) for almost four decades. In addition to the premier “outsider” folk artists, there are booths with contemporary art and fine crafts.

This festival was listed last year by Time.com as the Authentic American Experiences for Alabama, selected as a Top 20 event by the Southeast Tourism Society and designated a “Local Legacy” buy the U. S. Library of Congress.

Yvonne Wells

Annie Tolliver Turner and Missionary Mary L. Proctor will have paintings displayed.  Basketmakers, chair-caners and sculptors will be there. This is the place to find quilts (although not ones you’d let the dog sleep on.) Here you’ll find the work of the West Alabama Quilter’s Guild, Yvonne Wells’ story quilts and Chris Clarke’s painted quilts. The West Alabama Fiber Arts Guild will have work on display and for sale, and there will be demonstrations of spinning, weaving and tapestry. Among the more than 250 exhibitors will be Jerry Brown, one of Alabama’s most famous potters.

Kentuck for Kids goes far beyond standard face painting, with chances to actively tie-dye, shape clay, make paper and get acquainted at the Musical Petting Zoo. Among the musicians scheduled to play for the weekend are the Dixie Bee-liners, Ben Prestage and the University of Alabama Crimson Jazz Quartet.

Northport is across the Black Warrior River from Tuscaloosa. Park at the Northport Civic Center (Hwy 82 West and 43 North) and take the shuttle. A weekend pass is $15 in advance or $10 a day.

Photos of Sam McMillan and Yvonne Wells courtesy Kentuck Festival of the Arts. Used with permission.

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