The first day of the 2012 MeccaFest Fine Arts and Crafts festival was perfect. No hitches, no glitches, said Cultural Arts Center Director Penny Lewis.
“It was fantastic. Wonderful crowds.”
Visitors were telling Lewis, she said, that the ninth MeccaFest has been one of the best yet.
Seventy select artists from throughout the Southeast, including 24 from Carroll County, are participating in the Carrollton Artist Guild’s acclaimed two-day festival that opened Saturday.
Many of the opening-day visitors are expected to return today.
“I’ve had more response today about coming back tomorrow than we’ve ever had,” Lewis said.
There are three reasons for that, she said. The patrons want to return to see the “living sculpture” and the completion of Shawn McCann’s “illusionary art” sidewalk chalk. And, many patrons tend to look at the artists’ work on Saturday, then return Sunday to buy.
Glass artist Connie Christopher arrived in Carrollton Wednesday night after a long drive from her home in Guthrie, Okla., for her first showing at MeccaFest. An artist for more than 30 years and a veteran of art shows and festivals, she believes MeccaFest is a superior event.
“It’s the best group I’ve worked with,” Christopher said of the group organizing and operating the festival. “They are artists too, and know what it takes.”
That’s part of the family atmosphere that Lewis said is so important to the success of the festival. Many of the veteran artists of MeccaFest of “like family,” she said.
Elizabeth Henry is a believer in that.
“This is my favorite show, because of the people,” said the Villa Rica folk artist. “They are so friendly.”
Henry also credits MeccaFest for what she called “high-end art.”
“It’s the kind of show I like.”
Henry also likes the fact that she was taking home $1,000 after being judged Best in Show. Eighteen awards totalling $5,000 were given out Saturday.
New to the festival this year is a layout that is more guest-friendly, allowing visitors to more easily maneuver their way around the booths and to other activities.
“It’s a completely new layout for the festival,” Lewis said. “Even though we had big crowds, the crowds were easily dispersed so it was never too crowded. I think that worked out fantastic for the patrons, to not feel so crowded they couldn’t move.”
MeccaFest continues today from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission is free.
Additional information is available online at www.MeccaFest.com or www.visitcarrollton.com.