Festival Offers Diversity in Lectures and Tours
BY MARY ELLE HUNTER
Special to The Pilot
Everything you wanted to know about the history of this part of the Sandhills and were afraid to ask is probably available -during the upcoming Palustris Festival Thursday, March 25, through Sunday, March 28.
The first-ever community event being coordinated by the Arts Council of Moore County and the Convention and Visitors Bureau of Southern Pines, Pinehurst and Aberdeen is presenting a incredible schedule of -lectures and tours, most of which are free and family-friendly.
In addition to historical themes, the list includes a look at the Southern quality of life in its many aspects, two lectures -dealing with artistic subjects, and one on an endangered species in the Sandhills. The study and -management of the red-cockaded -woodpecker is the topic of a biologist from the North Carolina Wildlife Resource Commission in a Saturday -afternoon lecture at the Weymouth Woods Sandhills Nature Preserve.
The Nature Preserve is also the starting point for three walks or hikes on Saturday-- an 8 a.m. bird walk, an "Old Growth Hike" -featuring the oldest known longleaf pine at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m., and a -wildflower hike at 11 a.m.
The pair of lectures focusing on artists begins with Vivian Jacobson's talk on the noted 20th century icon Marc Chagall on Friday afternoon at Temple Beth Shalom, and finishes with a Sunday afternoon exploration of "Impressionism at Giverny" and master artist Claude Monet at Aberdeen's Artists League.
The Southern quality of life theme takes in such lectures as those presented at Sandhills Community College on an examination of the historical, political and cultural connections of the region's cuisine, as well as ones dealing with the Southern literary renaissance, and the Southern character and caricature in films.
A look at the history of Moore County's early settlers is another topic covered in this series, as well as a talk by a member of the Seagrove Area Potters Association, explaining the uniqueness of the area's pottery and its craftspeople. All of these lectures, which are a part of the involvement of Sandhills Community College in the Palustris Festival, are being held at the college on Thursday and Friday afternoons.
An example of the celebration of the literary arts that is a cornerstone of the festival will take place at the Ball Visitor's Center on the grounds of the college's Community Gardens at noon Friday. In this tranquil setting, PineStraw magazine presents "Writers in the Garden," featuring James Dodson, Steve Bouser and special guest Emily Herring Wilson reading from new works and selections by PineStraw contributors.
Following that program, members of the Sandhills Horticultural Society will lead tours of the 32-acre gardens. The tours, taking place on the hour from 1 to 4 p.m., show off the varied styles of plants and garden styles, including a formal English garden and a Japanese garden.
Another tour of an expansive natural setting that is offered during the Palustris Festival is the self-guided tour of the Village Arboretum in Pinehurst, on all four days of the festival from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. The Arboretum consists of 35 acres of land featuring a magnolia garden area, a large meadow and many paths through the woods. A special tour map will be available onsite.
Also in the village of Pinehurst, at 11 a.m. Thursday, Friday and Saturday, a historic walking tour will set off from Given Memorial Library, sponsored by the Tufts Archives. Discover the wonderful history of Pinehurst, as the tour wends its way through the village.
In Southern Pines, each afternoon of the four days of the festival, docents at the Shaw House, the home of the Moore County Historical Association, will lead tours of this antebellum farmstead, furnished with "plain-style" pine furniture and early examples of pottery. Also on the property are the Garner House and the Sanders cabin, which were moved to the site from upper Moore County and both of which date from the late 1700s.
Docent-guided tours of Weymouth Center, formerly the home of author James Boyd and his wife, Katharine Boyd, will be given on Thursday and Friday at 10 a.m. and on Saturday and Sunday at 1 p.m. The Boyds made Weymouth the center of a very social life in the 1920s and 1930s and entertained such literary friends as F. Scott Fitzgerald, Thomas Wolfe, Paul Green and Sherwood Anderson. Weymouth now functions as a cultural center and is listed in the National Register of Historic Places.
To describe one facet of the Boyds' life in Southern Pines, on Saturday at 10 a.m., at Weymouth Center, Cameron Sadler, joint master of foxhounds, will present the "History of the Hunt and the Moore County Hounds." This rare glimpse into the world of the Boyds will also offer an opportunity to learn about the formation of one of the area's oldest hunt clubs. The cost for the lecture is $10, and seating is limited.
Additional information about the lectures and tours at the Palustris Festival, as well as their dates, times and locations, along with the rest of the more than 90 festival events, can be found on the Web site www.palustrisfestival.com or by calling (800) 346-5362.
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