Fall colors and weather came together this weekend to make the perfect backdrop for the ninth annual Art’Oberfest in Abbeville.
Forty-five artists from all over the Upstate and as far away as Charleston came to the Livery Stable and Trinity Street to show off their talents during a preview Friday night and most of Saturday. The offerings were varied, with everything from soap to baskets to jewelry to paintings and photography. Visitors were sure to find something to suit their taste.
“We have quite a wide variety,” stated Sarah Sherwood, vice president of the Abbeville Artists Guild and director of events.
According to Sherwood, the event is used as a means to promote tourism and the arts in and around Abbeville. In the past, Art’Oberfest has drawn around 5,000-7,000 extra people to Abbeville, she stated.
Most of the artists this year were located in the Livery Stable or right outside on Trinity Street, but a few could be found on the historic square. An art exhibit that showcased Abbeville students was also on display in one of the storefronts.
Local artist Paige Bowser of Breezy Quarters brought her collection of handmade soaps, lip balms, candles, dryer balls and wax tarts to the Livery Stable. Active in the local Farmers Market, she enjoys the opportunity to mingle with other artists and see her customers face to face. She also gets to educate others on why she enjoys her craft.
“I think it’s important to use nature in a beneficial way, to use nature and mold it in a way we can use it,” Bowser said.
Bruce Fox was holding down the fort, or booth so to speak, for his wife, Lynne, who brought her handmade baskets to the event. She has been participating for the past four years. Her baskets are made out of split oak and take anywhere from one hour to two and a half hours to make, her husband said. Handcrafted with care, the baskets include a solid bottom that Mr. Fox makes. Her booth included angel ornaments that are made from the scraps of the baskets.
“We like being involved with the community,” Mr. Fox said about the event. “This is a way to give back to the community and get us involved.”
The weekend also included a beer and wine walk where patrons were able to sample boutique wines and craft beers from South Carolina, North Carolina, and Georgia. These are beers and wines that are not available from the local grocery store, Sherwood said.
During the beer and wine walk, participants were able to search for free pieces of art at certain merchant shops.
If that wasn’t enough to keep visitors busy, a silent auction also took place at the Chamber of Commerce building. Those interested could bid on jewelry, prints, and lodging. As music filled the air, children were allowed to try their hand at a make and take craft. An artist reception was held on Friday night, and a wine and cheese reception on Saturday night. The weekend concluded with a haunted history ghost tour hosted by the chamber of commerce.
The event was sponsored in part by the Abbeville County Accommodations Tax.