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Finster Fest

Thursday, May 07, 2009

This past weekend we went to Pennville, Georgia for Finster Fest at Howard Finster's Paradise Gardens.


Have you ever been somewhere that things just weren't right?  Felt totally out-of-place?  Or, not to sound loopy, but the people around just had the wrong vibe?

Well, that was Finster Fest.  Or, at least, that's how it felt to me during the time we were there.  It wasn't the environment, it was a multitude of things.  It was, for one, (ohmygosh I hate to say this!) the attendees.  Not the vendors or the other people helping, it was that (cringe! but I'm going to be honest!) there were a *lot* of rough-looking people there.  I don't just mean unkempt.  I mean rough.  And the rough-looking people outnumbered the not-rough-looking people.  Not that there were that many people to begin with.  ...oooohhhh...

And while I'm just spilling all this out, it wasn't terribly family-friendly, with the loud music in the middle of the main area so pretty much no matter what you had to walk right by the speakers rather than have a stage off to one side like most festivals have it.  And while the festival was billed as having over 100 artists, there were *maybe* 12 that showed up!  That was the kicker.  But to be fair, it had rained that day.  But still, there were maybe 12 artists.  Oh, and what really got me was that in the gallery, they were selling knock-offs of Howard's artwork.  Not prints or whatever, but complete copies, trying to look very hard like originals.  Yuck.  Is that a good idea??  

I know that there is a 501(c)(3) foundation to look after and restore Paradise Gardens, but I couldn't find a report on it online anywhere.  A year or two ago, several of the items from the Gardens were sold at the Slotin Folk Art Auction to raise money, and I was curious to see how efficiently the foundation is running.  I couldn't find them at Guidestar or Charity Navigator.  If anyone knows where to get a report on the Paradise Gardens foundation, please email me.  As much as I did not enjoy the festival, I would still be interested in supporting the environment...

Well, for all the wonderful festivals we go to, I guess every now and then there's bound to be a not-wonderful one.  

In all fairness, it may have just been me/us because other people had a nice time.

Well, there were two very special saving graces.  Myrtice West was there with her family, and they were on the front porch of the gallery:

...and Missionary Mary Proctor was there too, and she brought lots & lots of her art:

She also had this work by the late "Bucket Man" Danny Hoskinson, who passed away last year.  She had a note on this piece, looking for a collector or museum to purchase it for $750:

The next post will be just pics from Paradise Gardens, which was great to visit...okay.......

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