August 25, 2018 10:01:45 PM
Jan Swoope - [email protected]
As sure as Labor Day weekend signals summer's closure, West Point's Prairie Arts Festival opens the fall festival season with a flourish.
The 40th annual festival Saturday, Sept. 1 in downtown West Point features fine art, food, special activities and live music between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. A 5K race begins at 8 a.m.
With West Point's Black Prairie Blues Festival the night before, on Aug. 31, and the Mississippi State Bulldogs' season opening home game the evening of Sept. 1, the weekend is an entertaining trifecta for the Golden Triangle.
Prairie Arts Festival chair Lisa Klutts is also director of community development for the West Point/Clay County Community Growth Alliance.
"We'll have art, food, downtown shopping and music on the street as well as on two stages Saturday," Klutts said.
Fine art vendors include painters, jewelry and fabric artisans, potters, folk artists and more.
"And let's talk food for a minute," said Klutts. "There will be 22 food vendors and two restaurants to choose from inside the festival area. Grab lunch and sit under one of two food tents, or sit down and enjoy lunch in a local restaurant, then step out into the street for funnel cake, a snowcone or late afternoon snack."
Area musicians performing throughout the festival Saturday include Kay Bain, Keith and Margie, Stormy Monday, Paul Brady, Terry "Harmonica" Bean and Mookie Wilson.
Riding the Prairie Arts train is a tradition at the annual festival.
"The train was in much need of some TLC," Klutts said. "Thanks to students at the West Point Consolidated School District Career and Technology Center, the train will have a whole new look for its 40th year, including a new design and fresh paint."
Decorated by Deborah Mansfield, the train is "bright and colorful and looks like a rolling mural," Klutts said.
Because arts vendors may begin setting up Friday, festival organizers are bringing in a few food trucks that day so the community can enjoy lunch as they watch downtown get ready for Saturday's fest.
Brad Kidder of Columbus designed posters and T-shirts for both the Prairie Arts Festival and Friday's Black Prairie Blues Festival. Race awards are hand-painted by Pail of Paint in Starkville.
"The MSU ballgame doesn't start until 6:30 p.m. Saturday, so there is plenty of time to come to Prairie Arts and then head to Starkville to tailgate," said Klutts.
For more information, visit facebook.com/PrairieArtsFestival, or contact the Growth Alliance, 662-494-5121.
Editor's note: See page 5C for more on West Point's Black Prairie Blues Festival Aug. 31.
IF YOU GO:
■ WHAT: Prairie Arts Festival
■ WHEN: Saturday, Sept. 1,
9 a.m.-4 p.m.
■ WHERE: Downtown West Point
■ TICKETS: Free to attend
Jan Swoope is the Lifestyles Editor for The Commercial Dispatch.