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Thomasville preps for annual fall festival

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By Tom Flanigan

http://stream.publicbroadcasting.net/production/mp3/wfsu/local-wfsu-994218.mp3

Thomasville, GA – Fall time is festival time all over North Florida and South Georgia. Tom Flanigan reports one of the more popular takes place this weekend in Thomasville.

Lori Everett's technical title is "executive director", but "whirling dervish" may be more accurate. She was hanging decorations outside the Thomasville Center for the Arts when we managed to reach her by phone.

"We're celebrating 16 years for the Plantation Wildlife Arts Festival. We have over 76 artists from all over the U.S.; the best of the best in terms of wildlife and sporting art and it's just a remarkable weekend. Lots of animals, lots of wonderful art, lots of activities, lectures and demos and really something for the whole family."

Everett says there are some prominent names at this year's festival, including

"John Seary Lester. He is our featured artist. He's a world-renowned author and painter and he has his work right now hanging in the White House. Friday morning, he's going to do a demonstration of Thomasville's beloved oak. That's happening at 9:30 a.m."

There is art by amateur young people, as well as grownup professionals .

"We are featuring our junior wildlife art exhibition. That is downtown at the Bookshelf and Gallery. That is also open Saturday from 10 'til 5 and Sunday from 1 'til 5. We provide trolley service free of charge between the festival and our downtown exhibit."

By the way, downtown Thomasville stores will be open on Sunday for the convenience of pre-holiday shoppers. Everett says some art will actually be created while you wait on Saturday.

"We have 23 artists who, between the hours of 2 and 4 o'clock, they will start with nothing and create a piece of work that is just...I mean last year it was just unreal in the amount of time - two hours - how they can take a blank canvas and just turn it into this wonderful masterpiece and we auction those pieces off during the Bird Dog Bash on Saturday evening."

What pray tell is Saturday night's "Bird Dog Bash"?

"Our party that is open to the public. It's from 7 'til 10:30; we have wonderful live entertainment coming, it's a chance to mingle with the artists. Of course, the show is open for sale and you can mingle around, check out some of the wonderful art and have some delicious Southern delicacies."

Speaking of food...

"We have a local artist that is going to be cooking up a wild game paella. He's going to be able to share the recipe and allow samples and that's a fun thing."

And there is live as well as cooked wildlife

"We have Steve Scruggs the 'Snake Master' who's doing two demos, one on Saturday, one on Sunday. He's going to share a little bit about his love of the wild and he's got some creepy-crawly things that he'll be sharing with everyone, so that will be exciting."

In other words, there are many reasons that Thomasville's Plantation Wildlife Arts Festival is considered one of America's premier wildlife and sporting art events. Check out Thomasvillearts.org for the complete list of festival happenings.