Palustris Proves a Hit
Sights of the Palustris Festival
The inaugural Palustris Festival brought a plethora of events celebrating the area's cultural heritage and the visual, literary and performing arts to Moore County March 25-28.
Palustris Out and About: An Affair of the Arts
An "Arty Party," or the "biggest bash" of the Palustris Festival was An Affair of the Arts at the Pinehurst Fair Barn Friday, March 26. The event included dining, dancing and cabaret performances for a sold-out crowd.
Palustris Out and About: Sunday Afternoon at the Artists League
Because of windy weather on Sunday, March, 28, the scheduled Plein Air Palustris event at the Artists League of the Sandhills was canceled. Guests were instead treated to a wood carving demonstration by the Sandhills Carving Club, as well as a lecture on Impressionist artists, given by Dr. Molly Gwinn. Attendees were also welcomed to visit League artists at their respective work stations.
The inaugural Palustris Festival was an illustrious success, according to organizers.
“Flabbergasted,” “excited” and “nearly perfect” were some of the phrases used in reacting to the inaugural four-day event that celebrated the arts in Moore County.
By the time the festival ended Sunday, visitors and locals had been treated to more than 100 events that celebrated the arts.
“We couldn’t have asked for a better first year,” said Chris Dunn, executive director of the Moore County Arts Council and event organizer.
Guided tours, art exhibits, lectures, dramatic performances, film, music and concerts were among the many offerings of the festival, held Thursday through Sunday at various sites in the county.
The purpose of the festival was to nurture a sense of pride in Moore County’s culture and history, according to organizers.
“We have always used golf, and horses and tennis, and the overall beauty of the area to showcase Moore County,” Dunn said. “Now we are using the arts to showcase it, too.”
Dunn said the final attendance numbers aren’t in yet, but with nearly 75 percent of the organizations reporting their numbers, more than 5,000 people reportedly attended the various events. Visitors came from Florida, Arkansas, Massachusetts, Virginia and South Carolina.
More than 30 businesses and organizations had volunteers for the events.
“We easily had 200 to 400 people volunteering or helping in some way,” Dunn said. “And everybody (businesses and organizations) seemed to have a positive boost.”
That boost likely came in the form of exposure, but in other cases it also meant an economic benefit.
Dunn said he had heard reports that numerous nonprofit organizations made money from some of the events they held. Visitors were not charged to attend all events. Some were free to the public. The free events, Dunn said, were all very well attended.
Janet Kenworthy said both Thursday and Friday concerts at the Poplar Knight Spot in Aberdeen were sold out for the festival.
“I was cautiously optimistic going in, but I think the public response was tremendous and enthusiastic and positive,” Kenworthy said. “I thoroughly enjoyed myself.”
Kenworthy said she received positive feedback from those who attended the concerts as well as the artists who performed.
“The artists were delighted and charmed by southern Moore County,” she said.
Dunn said the success of the event ensures that the Palustris Festival will be an ongoing event.
“We know after this year that this festival can be even bigger, better,” Dunn said.
It took more than two years to plan this year’s event, but Dunn said organizers are already setting their sights on next year’s event, which is scheduled for March 24-27, 2011.
He said the one likely change for next year will be to lengthen the duration of the festival to avoid scheduling events at conflicting times and allowing visitors ample opportunity to attend as many events as possible.
“This year we could have easily gone Sunday to Sunday,” Dunn said. “We want to have diverse events, because we know everything doesn’t appeal to everyone, but we want to give them ample opportunity to experience as much as they can.”
Contact Tom Embrey by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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