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Rural America Festival
21 Dec 2013
Published To
Description

The Rural America Festival has been a joint project of the Beautiful View Garden Club and the Buena Vista Lions Club for over 40 years. The event is held annually on the first Saturday of November on the grounds of the historic Marion County Courthouse in Buena Vista, Georgia.

The event began as a 2 day arts and craft festival and has evolved into a one day festival for all ages. Each year the Garden Club publicity chairman prints articles in the local newspaper, The Journal, and in newspapers in Columbus and Americus and sends announcements to the Georgia Market Bulletin, GA EMC magazine, Ft. Benning Bayonnet newspaper and TV and Radio Stations in Columbus and Americus.  Additionally, letters and registration forms are mailed to potential vendors who display and sell their arts and crafts items and to food vendors.  There are also several opportunities for children to engage in miniature train rides, bouncing activities, and various games where they may win small prizes.

A parade is always held at 10 AM as a way to officially start the festival.  The parade chairman contacts schools, churches, clubs and individuals to complete entry forms for participation in the parade and prizes are awarded for the 3 best decorated entries.

Some organizations share information while others have items for sale. Artists often have items such as embroidered clothing, hand crocheted and knitted items, painted wooden objects, handmade toys, handmade jewelry and other decorative art objects available for sale.  Other artists include a local woodcarver who has artwork on display and for sale.

Many of the local school  clubs, churches and community organizations  have food items for sale. The Buena Vista Lions Club cooks BBQ pork every year and this is sold by the plate, sandwich and by the pound. The Garden Club organizes the event and contracts with a DJ who provides music along with special performances by the Marion County High School Band, area gospel groups, bluegrass groups and individuals.

Since the event has a set date each year this is a time of Homecoming for many family members. There is no charge for admission to the Rural America Festival so every citizen is welcomed from Marion County and surrounding areas.  The proceeds of the vendor’s rental spaces are used by the Beautiful View Garden Club to plant the concrete planters around the businesses adjacent to the courthouse square, for maintenance of the Buena Vista welcome signs and other garden club projects. The Lions Club uses the proceeds from the BBQ to help support national Lions Club projects and provide eyeglasses to individuals in Marion County.

The Rural America Festival is the largest event in Marion County where people gather  to have fun, visit, eat and shop. Since this event is outdoors the weather is always a factor, but most of the time the weather provides a pleasant, cool fall day where people can gather for a day of fun and fellowship.

Photo Description: Woodcarver Mark Harper, Photo Credit The Journal, Buena Vista, GA.

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This event is featured on the Year of the Rural Arts Calendar of Events. For more information on the Year of the Rural Arts, visit www.artoftherural.org

Tags
Craft Visual Art Community Food & Drink In the Streets Rural YORA Youth Festival/Celebration Southeast Craftsperson Musician Visual Artist Homecoming MarchingBand Music Parade
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