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ClydeFest offers hands-on arts fun for children of all ages

By Les Palmer
Posted Thursday, March 8, 2007

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Pittsboro, NC - Legendary chainsaw carver Clyde Jones and other artists will conduct fun activities with children of all ages at the sixth annual ClydeFest set for Saturday April 28 at the Chatham County Fairgrounds off of U.S. 64 west of downtown Pittsboro (around the corner from the Food Lion shopping center).

This year's all-day festivities include hands-on arts workshops where kids can decorate plywood "critters" with Clyde, get their faces painted, enjoy hula hoops, African dancing, story telling, crazy balloons and more.

The fun takes place from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Admission is $8 for adults, $5 for ChathamArts members, and $2 for children under 12; infants free. Refreshments will be for sale including barbecue from the Barbecue Joint, as well as desserts and vegetarian treats from Chatham Marketplace. For information contact ChathamArts at at (919) 542-0394 or visit the ChathamArts web site.

As always, Jones will help children paint and glitter wooden animal figures they can take home as souvenirs. At the end of the day, Jones will create an original "Clyde Critter" from a fallen cedar tree, to be auctioned to the highest bidder, with proceeds to benefit ChathamArts, the nonprofit arts council.

Also on hand will be: Karen Tiede with hula hoops, Ubi the Clown with balloon creations, RogerValente with storytelling, Stephanie Hope with African dancing, and volunteers from Chatham Education Foundation, Woods Charter School and Jest for Fun (UNC students) with an array of games and activities.

ClydeFest is an annual outdoor festival to honor Jones, an award-winning self-taught folk artist living in Bynum. He uses his chain saw to create three-dimensional animal sculptures from cedar limbs and found objects. His wooden giraffes, deer and other "critters" have been exhibited all over the world.

Though they are not for sale, he often gives them away to friends and makes them available for charity auctions. Locally "Clyde Critters" can be seen at UNC's student union and Crook's Corner in Chapel Hill, at Captain John's Dockside Seafood restaurant in Colepark Plaza in north Chatham, in front yards all over Bynum, at Pittsboro Town Hall, and at the Governor's Mansion in Raleigh.

ClydeFest is sponsored by ChathamArts, which supports arts in the schools, promotes the work of local artists through a Pittsboro gallery and sponsors a range of arts events and performances throughout the year. Co-sponsors include Captain John's Dockside, Crook's Corner, The Barbecue Joint and Chatham Partnership for Children.

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