Temperatures have started to cool, leaves will soon be turning, and many of us look forward to the miriad of fall festivals to ease us into the winter months. Leading off the festival season this year, and one of the truely unique events, is the Georgia Gourd Society’s annual Gourdfest to be held in Griffin on Sept. 29 and 30. The celebration of this novel quirk of nature has become one of the more curious and fascinating side trips you could make this fall.
One of the features of the event is the gourd art competition, showcasing the amazing work of gourd artists from around the country. There is a wide variety of gourd crafting classes offered, historical displays of gourd art from around the world, as well as vendors of art and craft supplies, hobby tools, and mounds of gourds ready for crafting. This year will also feature a “make and take” booth. For a small fee, attendees can create their own project on the spot and leave with a hand crafted gourd souvenir.
The history of the gourd goes back as far as early man. Before the development of metals, glass or pottery, our primitive ancestors treasured gourds as a natural waterproof container for storing and carrying everything from water and food stuff to spices and herbal remedies. They were fashioned into utensils, tribal masks and hats, musical instruments, toys, jewelry and more.
Gourds also serve as a canvas for the art of many cultures around the world. In countries such as Africa, China and Peru, the intricate skills of etching and pyrography(drawing with fire) on gourds continue to be passed down from generation to generation.
In the U.S., these traditions and the promotion of activities and events like the Gourdfest are accomplished through the work of the American Gourd Society and it’s 25 state chapters. If you are looking for ways to spend an interesting day with friends or family, the 2018 Georgia Gourdfest should be on your list. It’s not the usual “fall festival”, and you might just discover a fascinating new hobby!
The venue at the Kiwanis fairgrounds in Griffin is air conditioned, handicap friendly, and parking and admission are free. Details about this year’s Gourdfest, class information and registration, as well as pictures from past festivals can be found on the gourd society’s website at georgiagourdsociety.com.