IF YOU GO
What: JulyFest Art and Music Festival
When: 9 a.m.-9 p.m. Saturday, July 6; 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Sunday, July 7 (all times are Central)
Where: Edward Mason Park, 5972 Highway 117 (adjacent to Town Hall), and Mentone Inn, 6139 Highway 117, Mentone, Ala.
Admission: Free ($10 for barbecue plate Saturday)
The JulyFest Art and Music Festival attracted thousands to Mentone, Ala., when it debuted last year. The event returns this weekend, July 6-7, with arts, crafts, free music by homegrown bands and a pet parade among its offerings.
Organized by the Mentone Area Arts Council, the two-day event opens at 9 a.m. Saturday with a juried arts and crafts show. Visitors can stroll beneath the trees of Edward Mason Park to see the work of 50 artists and craftspeople who specialize in oil paintings, pastels, watercolors, photography, sculptures, wood art, rustic furniture, pottery, iron work, basketry, fiber art, wearable art and jewelry.
Registration for the pet parade starts at 9:30 a.m. in the park, with the parade following at 10 a.m. Festivalgoers also can take part in a silent auction and dog adoption to benefit the Humane Society and Animal Resources of DeKalb County.
Live entertainment is slated both days. Saturday performances are by saxophonist Bill Henson from Rainsville at 11 a.m., banjo player and vocalist Chris Hale at 1 p.m., and Mentone's Jess Goggans at 3 p.m.
At 5 p.m., Old Tymer's Barbecue of Fort Payne will begin serving its specialty on the grounds of the Mentone Inn as festivalgoers enjoy the melodies of light-rock musician Jerry Bloom. Cost is $10 per plate.
Headlining this year's event is country star Leah Seawright, who will take the stage at 7 p.m. for a two-hour performance. Her band includes drummer Mark Herndon, formerly of the group Alabama.
On Sunday, Mentone's Larry Joe Hall is slated to perform from 1 to 4 p.m. at the Mason Park gazebo. Hall, known for strong vocals and precise guitar playing, performs folk, rock and country music.
Festivalgoers are encouraged to bring lawn chairs and picnic blankets. All activities take place rain or shine. Admission is free.