Today’s Art Talk Monday is from Marlen Waters, Chairman of the Beta Sigma Phi Arts and Crafts Show
Ruston Peaches, Arts and Crafts, Peach Ice Cream and the Louisiana Peach Festival…four things that just say “Summer is here!”
Ruston’s two chapters of Beta Sigma Phi have been working with the Louisiana Peach Festival for over 35 years to provide peach ice cream and the Arts and Crafts show for this huge event. Eta Omicron chapter handles the peach ice cream and Louisiana Laureate Omega sponsors and produces the Arts and Crafts Show each year.
The show includes over 150 vendors in three vendor areas. There are vendors from the local area and from 10 states, some as far away as Ohio, Tennessee, Georgia and Florida. Beta Sigma Phi spends the year recruiting new vendors by going to fairs and festivals all over the south. About half of the vendors are new and the rest are veteran vendors that have been coming to the festival for as long as 25 years. In January of each year we send out our invitation to participate. Our juried applications come in first. Then the rest come in as the year progresses. If we have space…we take them right up to Peach Festival time!
This year, the show has expanded to two days: Friday, June 23, Noon-6pm and Saturday, June 23, 8am-6pm at the Ruston Civic Center. Friday’s show will be FREE admission. Saturday standard gate fee for the Festival–$10 per person, 7 and under free.
Inside the Ruston Civic Center is the juried, all handmade arts and crafts. You will find everything from bonsai trees, pottery, paintings, journals, signs, calligraphy, jewelry, metal work, woodwork and clothing to coffee, nuts, fudge, jellies, dip mixes and much, much more. In this area we award Best of Show, and have 4 merit winners—cash and ribbons.
Outside the CC in the south parking lot, we have a variety of crafts and more, including hair ribbons, wreaths, clothing, accessories, cypress furniture, t-shirts, jewelry, handcrafted jerky, resale items, etc. This year we have added some food vendors like Ruston’s own Larry Jarrell with his baked goods and dinners and a booth that will be selling etoufee, homemade lemonade and more.
We also have the front yard under the trees that we call “The Trenton Marketplace” that has a large variety including a dog rescue booth, info booths, retail boutiques, jewelry, phone accessories, plants, crafts, and much more.
There will be lots of activities for the kids like face painting, rock climbing walls, inflated houses, and of course on Saturday, the Dinosaurs will be returning. And don’t forget in the lobby of the Civic Center will be the famous Louisiana Peach Festival ice cream. Loosen your belt and buy lots!
The proceeds from both projects remain mostly in our area to support local and regional charities and non-profit organizations. Besides being one of the largest contributors to the Louisiana Peach Festival, we try to “keep it local”. Organizations like the Boys and Girls Club, DART (Domestic Abuse Resistance Team), North Central Louisiana Arts Council, Buddy Ball, Lincoln Parish Museum, Goodwill Lunching, Adopt-a-School, Christian Community Action, Life Choices and several others benefit from the booth fees of the Arts and Crafts Show and the sales of the ice cream. We do not take any percentage from our vendors. Our other mission is to provide a high quality arts and crafts show for our city/parish and for our artists to sell their wares, explore their passions, and make a living.