Appalachian Center for Craft to celebrate 20th annual festival

Children interested in learning about art may join artists and other art enthusiasts for the Appalachian Center for Craft’s 20th annual Celebration of Craft scheduled from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday.

The open house features in-studio demonstrations of wood turning, glass blowing and blacksmithing. Children can try free crafts such as tie dye, origami and paper making. Participants can visit all six stations or focus on their favorites.

 “It’s a really neat way for kids to see that they can create something that will benefit someone else,” workshops manager Gail Gentry said.

Attendees of all ages also can create ceramic bowls for Habitat for Humanity’s annual Cooking on the Square fundraiser, Gentry said.

One of the Celebration of Craft’s main attractions is a silent auction benefiting the Craft Center’s educational art program. This fundraiser enables children from as far away as Memphis and Johnson City to come to the center and learn techniques in glass fusing, copper enameling, woodcarving and glass bead making.

“These are children who wouldn’t normally have these opportunities,” Gentry said.

The Celebration of Craft offers live music from local bands. This year the Tech Jazz Combo is scheduled to play from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., The Ballinger Family Band performs from 1-3 p.m. and Spoonful finishes the day from 3-5 p.m.

Hungry visitors can fill their stomachs at the Craft Center’s own Blue Water Grille on the Hill or grab a snack from Country Boys Gourmet Kettle Corn.

The Appalachian Center for Craft is a part of Tech’s School of Art, Craft and Design. Students at the center learn both traditional and modern techniques, design concepts and may meet with professional artists. In addition to the Celebration of Craft, the center plays host to an annual holiday festival the weekend before Thanksgiving.

The center is located at Tech satellite campus at 1560 Craft Center Drive in Smithville.