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Brownstown Ewing Main Street Plans New Community Festival
Updated May 5, 2013 1:10 AM
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(BROWNSTOWN) - Brownstown Ewing Main Street (BEMS) announced plans for a new community festival, Artsfest, which will showcase Jackson County artisans and local businesses during its recent annual meeting.

The festival will take place from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. on Saturday, April 27, followed by a 7:30 p.m. performance of "Catfish Moon" a comedy drama at Jackson County Community Theatre's Royal-off-the-Square Theatre.

BEMS decided to hold this festival to give artisans a chance to display their work by partnering with local merchants in Brownstown and Ewing, giving equal exposure to both.

"We have so many artisans and talented people in Jackson County, we want to put the spotlight on them," said Wilma Wessel, BEMS member and chairperson for Artsfest.

She noted that Jackson County has beekeepers, a maple syrup farm, jewelry and basket makers, a family that makes goats milk soap, in addition to all of the musicians, painters, potters, and photographers.

In addition to artisans being paired with local businesses and the historical aspect, there will be live music throughout the day at the Jackson County History Center in Brownstown and W.R. Ewing in Ewing, something local residents want to see more of, according to Wessel.

"Ninety-seven per cent of people wanted to see more musical events in town, according to our (BEMS) survey conducted at last year's county fair," she said.

Wessel and her committee are in the initial planning phases; however, they anticipate having a variety of musical acts ranging from bluegrass to string quartets and soloists, as well as performers showcasing a variety of other talents. Food vendors will be set up throughout the event and the group hopes to have non-profit and church groups selling baked goods on the courthouse lawn.

Plans are also in place for a Volksmarch to be held in conjunction with the event. Brownstown Central High School agriculture teacher Blake Hackman and his students are working to create maps for the Volksmarch, which is a form of a non-competitive walking that has participants walk around 10K, a little over six miles, on an outdoor path.

According to BEMS President Linda McCormick, who has participated in several Volksmarches, the routes are usually through scenic and historic areas. She has also noted that several people spend their weekends attending Volksmarches at various locations, so this would be a draw for non-Jackson County residents to come to the Artsfest, which is what BEMS hopes to accomplish.
 "There are so many talented people who do so much around here, but people don't know about them," Wessel said. "We want to show people what we really have to offer."

For more information about hosting an artisan, being a featured artisan, or Artsfest in general, contact Wessel at 358-2199 or email her at wwwessel@yahoo.com.



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