OUR OPINION: GumTree Festival days invite a big celebration

By NEMS Daily Journal

Celebration marking the 42nd annual GumTree Festival weekend begins today at 7 p.m. with the GumBall at the Goodlett House, a landmark former residence on court square.
The festival, featuring nearly 100 artists representing several mediums, opens Saturday at 9 a.m. on the streets around court square, with food vendors, and stages for entertainment events. The festival’s second day begins at 10;30 a.m. Sunday,, concluding at 4 p.m. with an awards ceremony.
The festival, whose centerpiece always has been the artists and their art, attracts participants from many states, especially from across the Southeast. who come from many states to compete for purchase prizes, cash awards and to make sales to an admiring crowd usually numbering several thousand during two exhibition days.
Artists will present work in clay, fiber, glass, jewelry, mixed media (2D), mixed media (3D), painting, photography, sculpture, and wood.
In addition, a separate event, the Gum Tree 10K Run, which raises money for Habitat for Humanity, will wind its way from the 200 block of Main Street at 8:30 a.m. Saturday, following a twisting-turning course and return to Fairpark.
Race-day registration starts on site at 7 a.m. and stops at 8 a.m. Based on rgistrations late Thursday, more than 1,000 runners can be expected.
Traffic restrictions will apply for both the festival and the run. City Hall spkesperson Anna Beth Wyatt released traffic and street-closing information Thursday:
• Broadway is closed through the weekend.
•Beginning today, Jefferson, Court, Spring, will be cosed until the festival concludes (vendors begin setting up at 9 a.m.)
The contact is Kit Stafford: (601) 213-8992
For the Gum Tree 10 K Run
• Troy and Commerce closed around Fairpark tonight at 6:30 p.m. until noon on Saturday.
• Main Street – blocked from Fairpark all the way to Church Street from 7a.m.-Noon on Saturday and also 9 a.m. until the race finishes it will be blocked from Front Street to Fairpark The course will be closed starting at 7:30 a.m. Saturday until end of race.
The contact for the is Gum Tree Run is Andy Hughes: (601) 844-8920
Awareness of parking restrictions and altered traffic flow can make the festive weekend a better event for everyone who attends and participates.
For a complete schedule of events, visit gumtreefestival.com