Patrons of the 2011 GumTree Festival enjoyed near-perfect weather on Saturday, as temperatures lingered in the low 80s.
Hundreds of people from all across the state attended the annual arts and crafts festival, sampling a variety of festival foods and viewing a hodgepodge of art by artists from as near as Tupelo and as far as San Francisco.
Even though the race is the reason Sam James started attending the festival several years ago, the fact it was moved to next weekend didn’t keep him away. James, who lives in New Albany, said he was disappointed that he’d have to come back a second weekend to run the Gum Tree 10k, but said he and his wife enjoy the art part of the festival just as much.
“It’s just an all-around great festival to attend,” he said. “We enjoy art just as much as I enjoy running, so coming back to run next weekend isn’t that big of a deal. But I have to admit that it feels a little weird being at the festival with healthy legs because I’m usually walking around with an ice pack on my knee after running that six miles.”
Michelle Moss also expressed disappointment the run and festival were on different weekends. Still, she took it in stride.
“Well, I guess I’ll have to substitute my run with some of this fattening food,” she said, laughing.
Randy Overton said he is not a runner and for him the GumTree is all about the art, and there couldn’t have been a better day to enjoy it.
“What more could you ask for on a Saturday than great sunny weather and bright and beautiful artwork?” said Overton, of Red Bay, Ala. “Last year, if I remember correctly, it was way to hot during the GumTree, and the year before it rained, so the area was all muddy and wet.
“But this year is as perfect as it comes. This has always been one of my favorite festivals to attend and with this weather we are having today, nothing has changed that so far.”
Attendees got to admire and purchase several different forms of art from metal fabrications to wood sculptures to oil paintings. Whatever your art tastes, the GumTree had something to satisfy.
John McDonald of Horn Lake said on Saturday that he’d purchased a few pieces of art last year from an artist out of Alabama and was hoping that particular artist was back this year so he could buy more. McDonald said he visits a lot of art festivals and the GumTree is his favorite.
“Tupelo really rolls out the red carpet for people when they come out to the GumTree,” McDonald said. “The hospitality here is just overwhelming and that’s why I keep coming back.”
The festival reopens today at 10:30 a.m. and closes at 5 p.m.
Contact Danza Johnson at (662) 678-1583 or firstname.lastname@example.org.