Redbud Arts & Crafts Festival
Apr 27, 2015 10:47AM
● By Brandi Barnett
Festival MagicMay 2015
By Jen May Pastores
Nestled in the foothills of the southern Sierra Nevada mountain range is Three Rivers, a small town boasting a surrounding landscape of ancient woodlands, flowing rivers and natural spectacles, including a famed forest of giant sequoia trees in the neighboring Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks. The land naturally and historically inspires a community of environmentalists, backpackers, tourists and creatives to explore the allure of abounding nature in the area.
One such visiting individual was John Muir, an American naturalist and advocate of wilderness preservation, who devoted his work to preserving forests like Sequoia National Park. He wrote in one of his observations, “Everybody needs beauty... places to play in and pray in where nature may heal and cheer and give strength to the body and soul alike.” Perhaps this spirit of reverence is what draws people to the town.
Since the 1960s, groups of local artists living and working in Three Rivers began exhibiting their artwork, and in the 1970s an annual event known as the Redbud Arts and Crafts Festival bloomed. “I think it all started because Three Rivers always has been an artists’ community. Artists are always looking for venues to showcase their art,” says Karen Kimball, chair of this year’s Redbud Festival and member of the Arts Alliance of Three Rivers, a nonprofit serving the creative arts community of Three Rivers and host of the traditional Redbud Festival. “We’re working a lot harder to develop partnerships in our community. Because of the anniversary of the Sequoia and Kings Canyon, we really wanted to try and honor the parks, because we’re the neighboring gateway here. We want to bring a unique energy and focus on the heritage of the parks to the community.”
This year marks Sequoia’s 125th anniversary and King Canyon’s 75th anniversary, and they’re celebrating the preservation and protection of the wilderness of the Sierra Nevada. Students enrolled in ProYouth/HEART, a local afterschool program, are invited to photograph the park and share their written thoughts on what the parks means to them in an Outside the Lens photo exhibit inside the Harrison Hall of the Community Presbyterian Church at the Redbud Festival. The Festival is the first weekend of May at the Three Rivers Memorial Building.
The Redbud Festival is free, but proceeds from the event’s raffle tickets go toward the Arts Alliance’s Jonnum Young Scholarship for local high school seniors who desire to pursue art in higher education.
Other festival highlights include live music, freshly made food from the Three Rivers Bread Basket and Antoinette’s Coffee and Goodies, and original artwork by more than 65 vendors. New to the festival will be a quilt challenge that invites quilters from the region to enter panels to commemorate the Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks’ anniversaries. The Sequoia National History Association will help give insight to the parks’ history by performing reenactments, part of Three Rivers’ 1st Saturday monthly celebration. Maps for the event can be picked up at Anne Lang’s Emporium and at the Three Rivers Historical Museum.
“The Redbud Festival is a celebration of art, food and fun,” says Stephen Jonnum, director of the Arts Alliance of Three Rivers. “We live in a magical place and we want to share the magic.”
41st Annual Redbud Arts and Crafts Festival
Three Rivers Memorial Building
43490 Sierra Drive, Three Rivers
Saturday, May 2, 10am 5pm
Sunday, May 3, 10am 4pm