Organizers want Arts & Vine to draw locals and tourists
SANFORD — With less than a month until opening day, the organizers of the inaugural Sanford Arts & Vine Festival are working to create a weekend destination.
Looking to expand on the success of the now-defunct Sanford Pottery Festival, the new weekend event will broaden and target a range of attendees who may have not attended the festival in the past, said Sanford Area Chamber of Commerce President Bob Joyce, one of the festival's organizers.
"In the past most of the people came in for the day," Joyce said. "We wanted to see if we could begin building a destination event where people come and spend the weekend. Where they stay in our hotels, eat in our restaurants and shop in our shops."
The festival, scheduled for 9 a.m. - 4 p.m. May 4-5 at the Dennis A. Wicker Civic Center, is a few vendors shy of its goal of 80, Joyce said, and he expects the slots to fill up soon. Admission to the festival is $5.
"I think certainly the quantity and quality of exhibits will surprise people," Joyce said. "We have some outstanding artists from the southeast. We are building on the 11 successful years of the Sanford Pottery Festival and making it even bigger and better from here."
The various committees and groups of volunteers will continue to meet weekly to address last minute items, he said.
"We've done some preliminary marketing to reach out to the wider region and it is paying dividends," Joyce said. "We've gotten dozens of emails from folks who are planning to make the trip to Sanford."
New this year is a kickoff concert the Friday night before the festival begins, with North Carolina musician Shannon Whitworth headlining the concert.
Festival Publicity Chairman Billy Liggett said he was pleased to showcase Whitworth and other three local bands — Huckleberry Blue, Scarlet and Crush — during the kickoff concert.
"The idea behind the entire festival was to expand on what made the pottery festival," Liggett said. "We wanted to highlight North Carolina artists. So in addition to pottery we added other mediums of art."
Music was an important aspect of that incorporation, he said, and the concert is serving as an unofficial celebration to the beginning of the weekend festival.
The doors open at 5 p.m. May 3 for the concert and tickets are $16.25 at artsandvine.eventbrite.com.
"We want people to go who had no inclination to attend in the past," Liggett said. "We want it to be successful and (the concert) is one of the things that will make it a success."
More information about the festival can be found at www.sanfordartsandvine.com.
WANT TO GO?
What: Sanford Arts and Vine Festival
When: 5 p.m. May 3 for kickoff concert, 9 a.m. - 4 p.m. May 4-5 for festival
Where: Dennis A Wicker Civic Center
Admission: $16.25 for concert ticket, $20 at the door; $5 for festival entrance
More information: sanfordartsandvine.com