By Chris Edwards
It’s Dogwood Time in Tyler County, and for the next three weekends, the celebration factor is high. The Festival of the Arts is the first in that trilogy, and there are many things to see, do and taste at Heritage Village. Most notably, the traditional Sunday Dinner on the Grounds event will return this year, after a two-year hiatus.
On Saturday and Sunday, from 9 a.m. until 3 p.m., both days, a full schedule of demonstrations, live music and great food is all on the agenda.
On Saturday, the day is mostly devoted to demonstrations and music on the Village Green stage. Arts and crafts enthusiasts will have plenty to see, and lots of potential new finds to buy and take home. The demonstrations will range from quilting to jewelry making.
Regional authors Betty Oglesbee and artist collaborator Kim Whitton will also be on hand, selling and signing their books. Oglesbee, a San Augustine-based historian, recently appeared at the Allan Shivers Library as part of the “Coffee, Conversation and Discussion” series to promote the book I’m Samson (Maybe a Dog), a children’s book, which Whitton illustrated.
As far as literary offerings go with Festival of the Arts, festivalgoers will also be in for a treat when fourth-grade student Kassidy Hadnot reads from her book Introducing Doc Bean, an e-book for ages 9 and under.
The book focuses on encouraging kids to become doctors and nurses and teaches good health practices. Hadnot will read from the stage on Saturday.
The following day is the traditional Dinner on the Grounds day, and a real treat to lovers of good old-fashioned country cuisine. The menu will include everything from tasty smoked brisket and sausage to sides like dirty rice, cornbread and cabbage and baked beans. There will also be homemade bread and plenty of dessert items.
Adult tickets for the dinner are $10 each and $5 for children under 12 years of age. Tyler County Heritage Society members will start serving the food at 11 a.m., and the meal will last until 2 p.m.
During the dinner, live entertainment including Jason Birkner; Shelby Tillery; Rocky Ellis and Brent Harrison, will provide diners with top-notch country and gospel sounds.
For those who want to take in some history of the Dogwood Festival, there is an exhibit in the exhibit room behind the gift shop that features memorabilia from the past 78 years of the festival.
Along with photographs of past Dogwood princesses, there are dresses, festival programs and other items on display that showcase the rich history of this Tyler County tradition.
Tickets for Festival of the Arts are available at the gate during the event, or at the Village Gift Shop; the Pickett House; at Sullivan’s Hardware; the Tyler County Booster or from any TCHS member.