Buggy Festival, Pottery Crawl on Tap for Weekend
BY JOHN CHAPPELL
Multiple attractions spark the coming weekend in northern Moore County.
The yearly Buggy Festival will pack Carthage with crowds from Friday night at the park through most of the next day with music, shopping, food and free carnival rides for kids.
The festival has been running 24 years and celebrates the county seat's nearly half-century of fame as prime supplier of horse-drawn (and mule-pulled) two- and four-wheeled carriages, wagons and hearses.
It has been rated for years as one of the top attractions across the South, and every year has seen an increase in attendance. The streets of downtown Carthage around the old courthouse square will fill with peddlers of all sorts - carpenters, weavers, potters - hawking just about everything imaginable, from the latest styles in inexpensive sunglasses to handmade quilts to better mousetraps or mailboxes.
Down the street just past the blocked-off midtown, the local hardware store displays an assortment of brand-new buggies. None of them are made in Carthage, however.
While the festival hearkens back to the heyday of Tyson & Jones Buggy Co. in the middle of town, manufacturing buggies where they once built them is now illegal in Carthage.
There will be plenty of pottery shown at the festival, but real lovers of the art will want to know about Saturday's "Behind the Scenes Pottery Crawl" - a self-guided car tour to meet the artists, tour their studios, and admire their creations.
Many families start the day in Carthage at the festival, then head to Robbins to enjoy the Crawl. The event checks out 14 area potteries along N.C. 705, the Pottery Highway.
Each pottery will offer a unique culinary delight with a wine pairing and demonstrations focusing on different aspects of the craft - shaping at the wheel, glazing, firing techniques - even a chance to roll up your sleeves and make a pot yourself with the help of an expert.
It is the second year of this unusual benefit that supports the work of the Northern Moore Family Resource Center in Robbins, a nonprofit established in 1996 to serve children and families in northern Moore County.
"The Pottery Crawl is much more than a one- dimensional art gallery experience. It's a 'Behind the Scenes' look at how and where the art is created," the Resource Center says. "To visit the potters is to immerse oneself in their creative world. For them, life and work are fused together by their artistry, as many live and work in the same environment."
For a $45 ticket, Crawl-travelers get admission to all 14 separate events at the various potteries. For $100, they not only help support the center, they take home a specially created pottery bowl hand-thrown, glazed and fired by potter Michael Mahan at his From the Ground Up pottery.
While traditional North Carolina pottery is on display in museums all over the world and for sale in shops, potters themselves say the only way truly to experience it is to visit potters and see it made. That's the idea behind "Behind the Scenes Pottery Crawl."
"I drove from Virginia just to attend and it was well worth the drive," said Dr. Frederic Tate, of Williamsburg, after making the Crawl last year. "I saw the most beautiful pottery and glazes I'd ever seen. What made it ever better was that the money went to a great cause."
Potters on this year's tour are: Avery Pottery and Tileworks, Ben Owen Pottery, Blue Hen Pottery, Bulldog Pottery, Chris Luther Pottery, Dean and Martin Pottery, Frank Neef Pottery, From the Ground Up, Great White Oak Pottery, Jugtown Pottery, Luck's Ware - its master potter, Sid Luck, has been designated a North Carolina Living Treasure by the Museum of World Cultures - the Old Gap Pottery, Seagrove Stoneware, Studio Touya, and Westmoore Pottery.
Clare Ruggles manages the Resource Center, where she and volunteers help children succeed academically with after-school programs and summer camps. The center is a United Way agency, and its six-week free summer day camp is partially funded by the United Way.
"Our mission is to encourage the development of strong families, healthy children, and caring communities by matching resources with needs in the northern Moore County area," Ruggles said. "I am also proud to say that it's our 16th year of doing so."
The Crawl is the center's chief public participation fundraiser.
"Don't miss this unique event or the opportunity to help local kids and their families," Ruggles said. "It all happens on Mother's Day weekend, so why give Mom another tired gift? Spend an unforgettable day with her instead!"
Contact John Chappell at (910) 783-5841 or email@example.com.
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