The Chatham County Arts Council’s 13th Annual ClydeFEST was a huge success with folks from all over the Triangle and the state turning out for a day of kid’s folk art fun. Under a beautiful blue sky around 2,000 folks enjoyed carnival games, Critter painting, and superb performances on the Bynum ball field on Saturday, April 5.
The festivities began at 11AM with Tommy Edwards and Friends Bluegrass leading the stellar line-up of performers including storytellers Suz Robinson and Cynthia Raxter, singer Eliana Planer, the Takiri Folklorico Dancers, the Bouncing Bulldogs, and the Junior Appalachian Musicians—all of whom captivated the crowd throughout the day.
Here’s what David, a parent of a 3-year old had to say about ClydeFEST, “This is the first time we’ve been, and we’ll definitely be back. I think what I love the most is how friendly everyone is. It’s just the perfect place to hang out as a family.”
Some of the festival highlights included Ubi the Clown who created an array of balloon animals, a Critter raffle led by Bynum local River Dukes who emceed the event, and Georgia folk artist Peter Loose who amazed with his African Tortoises. Local non-profit organizations and businesses also lined the field sharing information about their services, as well as offering hands-on arts and crafts activities for kids at no cost.
Dorothy, a parent of a 7-year-old recounted her daughter’s ClydeFEST experience, “She painted a critter, built a fairy castle out of wood and rocks, made a cloth bag, got her face painted, and learned how to hold a violin. Really, this was an awesome day for her!”
More than 100 volunteers created, built, and worked the festival. Sponsors included Bynum Front Porch, Captain John’s Dockside, Crook’s Corner, Duke Energy, Hobbs Architects, Katy McReynolds of Chatham Homes Realty, Lesley Landis Designs, Life 103.1, the North Carolina Arts Council, Shakori Hill Grassroots Festival and Weaver Street Realty.
This year, festival-goers enjoyed food cooked up by Barney’s Hotdogs, Bynum Ruritans, Howard Alston and Lucky 7, Capps Pizza, Captain Ponchos, Triple J Ice Cream, and Little Dippers Italian Ices.
The festival culminated in a live Critter carving demonstration by our own legendary folk artist Clyde Jones–fresh from being the festival’s temporary tattoo artist for all the young-uns throughout the day. Former Pittsboro Mayor Randy Voller helped close the day with the annual Critter auction, helping raise $600 that will go straight to arts programming for Chatham County. This year’s Critter auction winner goes to Mackenzie Withington of LillyDen Farm. Hats off to Mackenzie for her support of the arts!
A parent of a 5-year-old shared with us, “My son asked me on the way home from this year’s Clydefest, ‘Daddy, will you bring me back to next year’s Clydefest?’ And without hesitation my reply was a big, ‘YES I will!’”
And by the way…
We could not have pulled off an event this size without huge support from the community. THANK YOU to the more than 100 volunteers who turned out to help with set up, staff the event, and pack it all up. If you’re interested in volunteering next year, please drop us a line!