Fayette comes together to celebrate heritage through art

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FAYETTE - Art will fill the streets of Fayette on Saturday for the ninth annual Festival of the Arts.

General Chair of the festival, Jim Steele, said the festival hopes to attract as many people as possible.

“Many people, in some cases, have never been to Fayette,” he said. “We’d like to have them take a look at us.”

According to Steele, people will get a chance to vote for their favorite artworks created by local child and adult artists at the Howard County Courthouse and Ashby-Hodge Gallery of American Art. He said the entrants have submitted their works in six categories: painting (acrylic and oil), painting (watercolor or pastel), drawing, photography, sculpture, and varied media.

At Linn Memorial United Methodist Church, about 200 quilts will be on display at the town’s annual Peacemakers Quilt Show.

“It’s a group of ladies who do quilting,” he said. “And one of the really wonderful things that they do on special days like Fourth of July, Veterans’ Day, Memorial Day, they give these specially made quilts to veterans.”

Another longtime tradition of the festival is a cake auction. Steele said residents will bring home-baked cakes to the courthouse Saturday morning, and local judges will evaluate their appearance and taste before people start placing bids. Half of the proceeds will go to the Fayette Ministerial Alliance Food Pantry, and the rest will cover the festival’s operational expenses.

“Because we do not get any money from state, county or city,” Steele said. “It’s all donations and entry fees and things like that.”

Adoptable pets from Pet Adoption and Welfare Service will also hang out on the courthouse lawn, waiting for people to take them home.

“It’s mostly dogs and cats, lots of cats as well, sometimes, rabbits,” Steele said.

Julie McAnelly, a Fayette native who now works as Assistant Vice President of Commercial Trust Company, said she looks forward to the event every year.

“We get to come together as a whole,” she said. “Really, I love Fayette because everybody in town always come out and support these events, and we celebrate together. It’s just a great community to be a part of.”

Steeple said the festival is somewhat different from what people might find in other cities, as it is “a laid-back event” reflecting on Fayette’s “relaxed way of life.”

“There’s not a lot of formality,” he said. “I had people ask me if they needed to have a signed space to put the stuff they’re selling. I said, ‘no, you just show up and pick out a place on the courthouse lawn.”

Steeple said there isn’t a lot of “regimentation or bureaucracy” at the festival, and it’s organized by a group of “community-spirited” people.

McAnelly said, “If you’re not from Fayette, you get to enjoy all the great parts of Fayette—the historic downtown area, and you get to see all the great different arts.”