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GSU ArtsFest '07 – Art lovers, kids swarm celebration

25th annual event draws crowd to Sweetheart Circle

            Gnats and humidity couldn't stop area residents from swarming Sweetheart Circle on the campus of Georgia Southern University Saturday for the 25th annual ArtsFest celebration.

            ArtsFest '07 was hosted by the Betty Foy Sanders Department of Art, and included a variety of activities and exhibits such as finger painting, iron sculptures,  and pet adoptions by the Humane Society.

            Many families  came together to have a day of fun and learning. Jodi Brannon said she brings her family to the ArtsFest as a yearly tradition. This year they even held their daughter's birthday party at the event.

            "The ArtsFest gives better entertainment than I could for the party at home," Brannon said. "It's got something for everyone – puppets for the kids and music for the adults."

            Music and instruments of all kinds were on display. One instrument in particular that caught the eye of many spectators was the didgeridoo. The didgeridoo is a long pipe made out of a Eucalyptus tree and hollowed out by termites. When blown into, the didgeridoo makes a deep resonating sound. Jeremy Lembo, along with two others, worked with the Didg Revolution booth.

            "We perform and educate about the didgeridoo. It really isn't just performances, education is very important," said Lembo. "It is used for story telling, healing, meditation, and many other practices."

            In a seperate music area, a french band was entertaining with crowd by playing instruments such as a guitar, a banjo, an accordion, and a hurdy-gurdy. Jean Paul and Dominique Carton with Steve Jones and David Bosner played music from the central part of France with their unique group of instruments.

            Jen Hager was working at the pottery booth making flower pots. She's been a ceramics major for two years and has looked forward to the ArtsFest since she attended last year.

            "I love being here at the ArtsFest," Hager said. "It is fun having the kids come up and be excited about what you're doing."

            Also working with his hands was Willie Tarver who was making iron sculptures by electric welding. His art pieces were for sale and on display.  Electric welding has been an activity he has done for 50 years, Tarver said.

            "Some of the scultures take just a couple days while others take several months," Tarver said. "It just depends on how much detailing is done by welding."

            Booth workers were not the only people enjoying the fun. Zelda Hutcheon, 7, was participating in Gyotaku fish painting where she painted a ceramic fish and made a picture by pressing a piece of paper on the top of the wet paint.

            "I really liked the fish painting," Hutcheon said. "But now I want to have my face painted and go see the Space Travels (exhibit)."

            The Humane Society took advantage of the large number of people that came to Sweetheart Circle and brought several cats and dogs to be adopted. Kathryn Sharbrough was one of the workers helping with the animals and she expected there to be a good response.

            "We've got a good start today," said Sharbrough. "So far, two cats have been adopted and we have a dog that has someone interested."

            Saturday's ArtFest marked 25 years of tradition by celebrating art in its various forms. Students, families, locals, and people visiting from out of town came to Sweetheart Circle learn about, participate with, and appreciate art in every form

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