By Sheena Barnett
TUPELO – Artists at the 43rd annual GumTree Festival found that Tupelo’s recent bad weather didn’t dampen the city’s appreciation for the arts.
Marietta, Ga.-based painter and artist Felix Berroa, who has showcased his brightly colored artwork at the festival for several years, was pleased by this year’s festival – and the fact that he took home the Best in Show award.
“After the tornado, we didn’t know what to expect,” he said. “In Tupelo, people support the arts. It’s very nice here.”
Berroa, a native of the Dominican Republic, has placed several times at the GumTree Festival but has never won Best in Show.
“I didn’t even have it in my mind,” he said. “They surprised me.”
Another surprised artist was Constance Beck, whose handmade creations won her first place in the fiber arts category. Her colorful wares included scarves, hats and wrap ponchos.
She said she was thrilled to win, because it’s her first GumTree Festival, and she was happy to see so many other artists doing well, too.
“I think it’s going well, considering,” she said. “A lot of people here have done well. I see a lot of home decor going by.”
The weather was warm on Sunday, but the rain held off almost all weekend, allowing for bright, sunny browsing.
“The artists seem to be happy,” said Kim Deaton, a volunteer with the festival. “It rained a little on Friday, but these artists have been great. The race and the festival are just a part of Tupelo’s traditions.”
The next festival will be Mother’s Day weekend next year.