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April 4, 2009

Arts festival draws a big crowd

Children ran happily around with painted faces, dogs pulled at their leashes in a panic to greet one another, and Meridian High School music students meandered along while lazily harmonizing to "I'm Just a Bill."

With those scenes as hundreds gathered, downtown Meridian came alive Saturday when the Threefoot Arts Festival and Arts in the Park combined to form a super event dubbed the Threefoot Festival.

The Anderson Cup Road Race, the Jimmie Rodgers Talent Competition, and the Make-A-Wish Foundation walk were just part of the festivities held downtown on 6th and 7th Streets Saturday.

Festival patrons didn't go hungry as the Meridian Museum of Art held a barbeque, the Meridian Little Theatre sold corn dogs, chili connoisseurs competed in the Threefoot Chili Cook-Off, and food vendors sold everything from sno-cones to sandwiches.

Since the Threefoot Arts Festival featured a regional art contest and Arts in the Park featured art and craft vendors, there was double the art when the two festivals combined. And the crowds were bigger, too.

Some of the more interesting art included the Icons on Bob Shaffer, from Louisiana. In Shaffer's shadowbox icons, classical images of Jesus were surrounded by glass alligators and bottle caps. Shaffer also displayed a large alligator sculpture encased completely in bottle caps, and many pieces painted on bits of tin and bearing the legend "Be Nice or Leave."

Laurel artist Mandy Buchanan also presented paintings on tin. Her beautifully intricate, earthy designs were painted onto things like film canisters from old drive-in theaters. Buchanan described in the layering process in which she created her pieces, saying, "Really honestly, these are doodles... It's just like drawing in church or something."

Buchanan said she has been to the Threefoot Arts Festival and Arts in the Park before, and said of the Threefoot Festival, "I just thought I'd give it a try... I just thought it sounds like a good idea."

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