Music, local cuisine and all things nature at favorite area festival –
PRATHER – Owners of Intermountain Nursery are once again opening their garden gates for the 20th Annual Harvest Arts & Peace Festival this weekend, Oct. 13-14. from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m Sunday.
Hosts Bonnie Bladen and Ray Laclergue are planning a special weekend overflowing with live entertainment amidst beautiful foliage, original music, fine local food and artisan crafts.Bladen invites guests to pick up a meal at the festival, and relax at picnic tables built by her father for the first festival 20 years ago.
The staff at Intermountain Nursery enjoys sharing the bountiful grounds, which also boast a gift shop filled with locally produced treasures and wares. Like the nursery, the Harvest Festival has flourished since the inaugural event in 1992, when it rained, according to Bladen.
“It has grown,” organizer Bladen said. “The first year, people ran to the hardware store for plastic tarps to cover the booths, and the band took cover.” That didn’t stop the festival then, and it’s been sunny every year since, observes Bladen.
From that drizzly but successful beginning, music has been a driving force behind the festivities.
“The music is very diverse. We have everything from chamber music to African drumming, and bluegrass, jazz, Americana and original music, in between,” promises Bladen, who says African dance will be taught to the audience during the drumming.
Tribal belly dancing is slated for a performance Saturday, along with a wide array of other artists, scheduled to take the stage throughout both days this weekend.
Watch local artisans, such as Kim Bethel, working their crafts. Kims raises Angora and Pygora goats and converts her home-grown fleece into a beautiful, natural product ready to be spun into yarn.
Good music calls for good food, according to Bladen, whose network of musician friends, Auberry Library organizers and other festival-goers will delight in the local fare she’s lined up.
There will be booths with shish-kabobs, Indian tacos, restaurant tri-tips and delicious salads. Also on hand will be information booths from non-profit organizations like the Sierra Foothill Conservancy, the Sierra Mono Museum and the Central Sierra Historical Society.
With the lush landscape of the nursery as a backdrop, and black walnut trees perched along Little Sandy Creek, the arts and crafts elements of the fest really shine. Bladen reports that the art show is juried and participants must qualify as artists whose roots are in the mountains.
“One artist finds amethyst from Shaver Lake outcroppings, and polishes it into jewelry,” Bladen explains. “Another artist creates handmade knives out of discarded steel blades from lumber mills shut down in the foothills.”
Bladen cites a further example of fine art – the pottery made by a local family named Tagress, whose “work is shown in the Smithsonian, and they have a booth here at the festival too.”
The Intermountain Nursery is located at 30433 N. Auberry Road in Prather.