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Columbia Community bandThe Howard County Courthouse on the Fayette square was bustling and alive Saturday, Aug. 5, 2017, as people of all ages and walks of life joined to celebrate the ninth annual Fayette Festival of the Arts. Most observers noted the event this year as “the best ever,” with more attendees and decidedly more vendors than in years past. The next festival is tentatively set for Aug. 4, 2018.
crowdIn spite of cloudy skies and the threat of rain, the courthouse square was overrun with people until a short period of light rain (around 1 p.m.) diminished the crowd somewhat. Nonetheless the entire festival schedule was completed.
In addition to the courthouse and bandstand, other venues included CMU’s Ashby-Hodge Gallery of American Art (displaying the adult art show) and Linn Memorial United Methodist Church quilt show(displaying the quilt show). The various shows, good food and cool temperatures in the mid-70s, made for an enjoyable and festival occasion. 
drawing blue ribbon winnerA full schedule (9 a.m to 4 p.m.) of live music highlighted the day, in addition to the art shows – (youth elementary, middle school and high school displayed in the courthouse) – and adult professional and adult amateur entries in the Ashby-Hodge Gallery. Exhibits at both sites were open for public viewing from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Categories of art work included painting (oil, acrylic, water color and pastel); drawing (pencil, or pen and ink); photography; sculpture; and varied media, such as fiber art and computer art. Ribbons and cash prizes were awarded in all categories. Click here for results. 
Although it’s difficult to calculate the actual number of people attending, vendors nonetheless told the Fayette Advertiser that (quote) “we had as much traffic or more than Child and vendorsin past years.” In addition, vintage vehicles, a Dutch Oven demonstration, historic tours and presentations, a free kids bounce house, and the P.A.W.S. site (Pet Adoption and Welfare Service) featuring adoptable animals, provided additional diversions. 
Sponsored under the umbrella of the Fayette Area Heritage Association (FAHA) with support from a number of other groups and individuals, the festival — as in past years — was designed to highlight awareness of Howard County’s rich historical heritage, in addition to showcasing this area’s contemporary culture and entertainment.
Event coordinator Jim Steele, retired publisher of the Fayette newspapers, noted feedback as being exceptionally positive. “This year’s festival was, I believe, the best overall since we began in 2009,” he said. “Particularly the musical entertainment, along with strong art show participation, and the sale of food and crafts came together as never before.” The all-day gathering has become the premiere summer event in Fayette and symbolically signals the town’s transition to fall.
The Columbia Community Band is the best known of the musical organizations which performed Aug. 5, and —in past years —played from 11 to 11:45 a.m. It has been a traditional favorite for many years dating back to a predecessor event known as the Great Fayette Freeze Off which took place from 2000 to 2008.
All the President's MenOf special note this year was a group taking part for the first time and led by Central Methodist University President Roger Drake who, in an earlier lifetime, was an accomplished country music performer on keyboard and other instruments. He played with a number of the nation’s foremost country artists from Nashville and elsewhere. Several of these musicians traveled to Fayette to perform with Drake from the festival bandstand. The group, dubbed “All the President’s Men,” played starting at 1 p.m. 
Performing at 2 p.m. was a New Orleans-style jazz band known as Doc and Friends which has been a longtime festival favorite and directed by CMU retired music dean Ron Shroyer. 
In addition to the aforementioned groups, the entire 2017 music and drama schedule included: Gospel & Patriotic Music - Faith Family Musicians (9:00 a.m.); The Show-Me Brass Band (9:45 a.m.); Just Friends jazz combo (10:15 a.m.); Miss Route 66 Jessica Harper singing (3:10 p.m.); Fayette Area Community Theater cast members performing songs from Godspell Jr. (3:30 p.m.); and the Morton Sisters Vocal Trio from Marshall (3:45 p.m.). 
ambulanceThe annual cake contest and auction, a longtime part of the festival, took take place following the Columbia Community Band performance with proceeds going 50-50 to the Fayette Ministerial Alliance Food Pantry and the festival for operational expenses. Mark Belcher donated his services as auctioneer., 
The south side of the courthouse square was reserved for a display of classic cars and trucks, plus emergency responder vehicles such as ambulances and fire trucks for both adults and kids to inspect. 
CMU historian Robert Rackley led a 10:30 a.m. walking tour highlighting the historic CMU campus. Also, local artist Millie Haggard did an interpretive presentation describing the Howard County history mural in the circuit courtroom starting at 2:30 p.m. Festival coordinator Jim Steele again served as master of ceremonies.
courthouseThe annual Festival of the Arts is enhanced by its location. Fayette is the county seat of Howard County and the courthouse square provides a picturesque location for most of the event. Central Methodist University, home to the Ashby-Hodge Gallery and the Paul H. Linn Memorial United Methodist Church, is just a short walk up Church Street from the square. Golf carts rides were available as in past years.
Fayette itself is located in Central Missouri in an area of rolling hills dotted with small farms. It is easily accessible from Interstate 70 over scenic state roads from Boonville on the west and Columbia on the east. In addition to the town square, Fayette has a number of structures which are listed on the national historic register and visitors are encouraged to tour the town by car or by foot.


Review of Eighth Annual Fayette Festival of the Arts

performers at festivalThe Howard County Courthouse square was bustling and alive on Saturday, August 6, 2016 as people of all ages joined to celebrate the eighth annual Fayette Festival of the Arts. The next festival is tentatively set for Aug. 5, 2017.

Other nearby festival location venues included CMU’s Ashby-Hodge Gallery of American Art (adult art show) and Linn Memorial United Methodist Church (quilt show). Live music, the art show, a quilt show with nearly 200 entries, good food and perfect weather — sunny skies and mild temperatures in the mid-80s — all combined to make a thoroughly enjoyable event. In addition, vintage vehicles, a Civil War encampment, a Dutch Oven demonstration, tours of historic Fayette, craft vendors, a free Dutch oven demobounce house for kids, and PAWS (Pet Adoption and Welfare Service) provided additional diversions.

Sponsored under the umbrella of the Fayette Area Heritage Association (FAHA) with support from a number of other groups and individuals, the festival — as in past years — was designed to highlight awareness of Howard County’s rich historical heritage, in addition to showcasing this area’s contemporary culture and entertainment.

vendor boothEvent coordinator Jim Steele, retired publisher of the Fayette Newspapers, noted that feedback has been exceptionally positive. “This year’s event was, I believe, the best overall since we began in 2009,” he said. “Particularly the musical entertainment, along with strong art show participation, and the sale of food and crafts came together as never before.” The festival has become the premiere summer event in Fayette and includes a variety of live music from the Howard County Memorial Bandstand and the courthouse yard.

youth artThis also was the 17th year for the annual Fayette Art Show which is a major part of the festival. The most significant recent change for the art show has been the increase in elementary, middle school and high school entries. For the third year, youth works were displayed exclusively inside the courthouse. Adult works, professional and amateur, were shown in CMU’s Ashby-Hodge Gallery. Exhibits at both sites were open for public viewing from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Categories of art work displayed included painting (oil, acrylic, water color and pastel); drawing (pencil, or pen and ink); photography; sculpture; and varied media such as fiber art and computer art. Ribbons and cash prizes were awarded in all categories. Click here for results. A father-daughter team, Jerry and Emily Benner from Ferguson, served as art show judges.

Columbia Community BandBest known of the musical organizations that performed Aug. 6 is the Columbia Community Band which played beginning at 11 a.m. It has been a traditional favorite at the festival for many years dating back to a predecessor event known as the Great Fayette Freeze Off. Also of note this year was a New Orleans-style jazz group called Doc and Friends which performed following the cake auction. It was directed by retired CMU Swinney Conservatory Dean Ron Shroyer who in past years had been part of an organizatin known as the Storyville Stompers headed by the late Butch Antel. Joining Doc and Friends was CMU President Roger Drake on piano.

Morton sistersThe remaining music and drama schedule included: The Show Me Brass Band, 9 a.m. (a group which has often performed in the past); excerpts from “Harvey” by the Fayette Area Community Theater, 9:45 a.m.; Just Friends Jazz Combo, 10 a.m., a Macon-based group which was new to the festival this year; and Miss Route 66 Jessica Harper singing her own compositions at 2:30 p.m. This was followed by the Morton Sisters, a vocal trio from Marshall which also was new to the festival this year and, like the other new group, was exceptionally well-received. One of the longtime favorites in the Boonslick area, Roy Stevens’ EZ Tunes, concluded the musical entertainmet.

The festival’s traditional cake auction took place immediately following the performance of the Columbia Community Band, with proceeds going 50-50 to the Fayette Ministerial Alliance Food Pantry and the festival for operational expenses. Mark Belcher donated his services as auctioneer, with Carlene and Don Cullimore serving as cake judges. First, second and third place ribbons were awarded. Click here to see winners.

Bob WiegersThe south side of the courthouse square was reserved for a display of classic cars and trucks, plus emergency responder vehicles on the north side. Adjacent to the courthouse, in addition to FAHA’s old-fashioned ice cream parlor, were a number of vendors serving-up a variety of tasty food items. Various artisans had interesting craft items for sale.

CMU history professor Robert Wiegers led a 10:30 a.m. walking tour highlighting the historic university campus and nearby homes. Also, local artist Millie Haggard did an interpretive presentation describing the Howard County history mural in the circuit courtroom starting at 2:30 p.m. Festival coordinator Jim Steele again served as master of ceremonies.