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Posted: Friday, October 26th 2012 at 11:26am

Original art festival on tap in Cornelia Saturday

By Rob Moore Editor
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About 60 folk artists and potters will be selling original artwork at the Burnt Bourbon Pottery & Gallery and Tanyard Branch Heritage Center Fall ArtFest. (Photo/Rob Moore)
CORNELIA – Hundreds are expected in Cornelia on Saturday for the first Burnt Bourbon Pottery & Gallery and Tanyard Branch Heritage Center Fall ArtFest.

The event will be held from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at 330 Foster St., Cornelia.
Art/pottery/photography and sculpture work by Steve Turpin, Stanley/Jamie/Mary/Savannah Ferguson, Roger Corn, Lori Gough, Celena Schoen, Jean and Bob Mitchell, Carolyn Simmons, Marcia Scroggs, Becky Barden, Debbie Dowdy, Kurt Hewell, Wayne Hewell, Cara DeCelles, Don Wheatley, Chuck Hanes, Mack Anderson, Sam Granger, Philip Ballard, Kenneth Woodall, Cheryl Williams, Debbie Jenkins, Jonnett Carter, Kip Ramey, Jimmy “Cap Man” Straehla, Scott Peppers, Nick Morris, Sandra Lynn Sparks, Lake Sirmon, Miz Thang, ASpeck Art, Athlone Clarke, Steve “Splinter Art” Graham, Tamra Willette, Brian J. Wilson, Lorri Williams, Michelle Eiffert, Nancy Garrett, Jim McClelland, Elizabeth Collins, Randy Tobias, Charles “Relic Art” Henson, Bonita Parsons, Hanna Caswell, Christina Sadler, Mont Overton, Alaqua Fry, Whitney Nave Jones, Susie Schnurr, Patricia Dibona, Bongo Loose, Mary and Coralie Hardman, Hector del Campo, Betty “Grandma Mozelle” Brown, Jennifer Schultz, and Stanley Irvin.

Host and artist Philip Ballard explained a little about how the festival came to be.

“I started painting about a year ago – the end of 2011 – for the first time, and just got interested in art and what not, and that’s led to let’s have a festival,” Ballard said. “We had a show here at the end of June with the Reckless Artists Guild, just to have a place for them to have a show. Then we started thinking about having a festival.”

“Saturday is our first festival,” Ballard said. “It’s the Burnt Bourbon Pottery Tanyard Branch Fall Festival – the first almost annual festival. We’ve got 60 artists and potters, probably two-thirds artists, one-third potters.”
People attending should expect to find original artwork.

“It’s strictly original art, folk art and pottery,” Ballard said. “We’ve got the Fergusons coming, the Meaders, the Turpins, most of the locals. We’ve got some people coming down from Chattanooga, out of the Carolinas, Tennessee, Atlanta.”

“We just figured there’s a need for that around here because there are a lot of festivals, but nobody concentrates on art,” Ballard said. “They’re fun and they’re fun to go to, but we’re trying to keep it all original art.”

Musicians will include Matthew Billy Lou Ballard from 10-10:30 a.m., Johnny Boyd from 10:30-11:30, Varney Watson from 11:30-12:30, Johnny Boyd from 12:30-1:15, Kathy Kelley and Glenn Cannon from 1:15-3 p.m. Steve Welsch and friends also will be performing throughout the day.

The event venue is a 3.5-acre field.

“We’ve got two and a half acres of parking, and the rest of it is set up for the vendors, so we’ve got plenty of room,” Ballard said. “It’s all fenced, so you can turn the kids loose out here – we’ve got ‘em hemmed up. It’s a five and a half foot horse fence all the way around the property.”

In addition to art, there will be music throughout the day. Hamburgers, hotdogs and barbecue will be available on site, as well as soft drinks.
Currahee Vineyards of Toccoa will be offering wine samples, and adult beverages will be available for adults.

“We’re just looking forward to having a good time,” Ballard said.

But Ballard’s interest in art didn’t stop with planning for a festival.

“We figured that we’d just go all the way and we formed a nonprofit called the Tanyard Branch Heritage Center,” Ballard said. “Tanyard Branch is the little almost dried-up creek that runs down here through my lake.”

Ballard said there used to be a tanyard in the area near Wayside Trailer Park.
“There used to be a tanyard up there somewhere behind M.J. Crocker’s trailer park,” he said. “This was 100 years ago.”

“We named it Tanyard Branch, we’re nonprofit, and we’re going to expand into educational and some research and teaching for kids and adults and everything else that we can think of for the art heritage of the area,” Ballard said.
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