Nawger Nob celebrates 34th annual festival

Visitors and vendors alike agree on one thing: the Nawger Nob Arts and Crafts Festival is one of the best shows in the region.

The visitors to the festival enjoy the more than ninety arts and crafts displays and the vendors enjoy the atmosphere and environment.

“It’s a perfect place to have a show,” said Jenny Weatherford, an artist specializing in hand-painted baskets, has been coming to the Nawger Nob Arts and Crafts Festival for the last 15 years.

The festival is Saturday and Sunday, June 28-29. Saturday hours are 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Sunday, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Weatherford, who lives in Athens, Ala., paints every type of basket from sewing to picnic and napkin baskets. “Not only are they useful, they’re decorative too.”

According to Ray Proffitt, co-owner of Smoky Mountain Woodcarver Supply and one of the organizers of the 34th Annual Nawger Nob Arts and Crafts Festival, said the festival is special because all the items are handcrafted by local and regional artists. He said vendors sell everything, including jewelry, pottery, woodworking items, candles, birdhouses and framed art work.

“Handmade items will always be in demand,” Weatherford said. “People appreciate the love and work that is put into it.”

Perhaps one of the most unique items that visitors can find at the arts and craft show are the handmade dulcimers that Mike Clemmer handcrafts.

“The dulcimer is one of the only truly American instruments,” said Clemmer of Wood-N-Strings shop in Townsend. Clemmer, who plays a variety of instruments, opened his shop 12 years ago. He said the dulcimer is a fretted instrument made from wood. He handcrafts the instruments from quality chestnut, cherry, walnut, butternut and ebony depending upon the sound that the customer wants to achieve.

“We can teach someone how to play in five minutes,” Clemmer said. He said that a person doesn’t necessarily have to learn music in order to play the dulcimer. Clemmer is also known for handcrafting his unique invention, the Ban-Jammer. This instruments gives the sound of a banjo with the ease of playing the dulcimer.

Clemmer said he became involved in the Nawger Nob Arts and Crafts Festival when he played music during the show.

“There couldn’t be a better show,” Clemmer said of the festival. He said the location is by a stand of poplar trees that provide shade which makes it a perfect spot not only for the vendors but also the visitors.

Another vendor who looks forward to the Nawger Nob Arts and Crafts Festival every year is artist, Larry Burton. Burton is known for his original landscape watercolors and limited edition prints. He said he has painted everything in Cades Cove and in the Smoky Mountains during every season of the year.

“It’s turned into one of our best shows,” Burton said. He said this is the first arts and crafts show of the season that he attends so visitors have the opportunity to see the pieces that he has worked on all winter.

Burton said the Nawger Nnob Arts and Crafts Festival is the best show for visitors who are looking for original pieces of art.

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