GRIFFIN — The Georgia Gourd Society's annual Gourd Art and Craft Show will be held Sept. 28 and 29 in Griffin, welcoming fall and the season of festivals. Griffin has hosted this unique event since 2012 and it's popularity continues to grow, attracting artists, crafters and vendors from across the country and beyond.

This year will feature Peruvian artists whose tradition of gourd carving goes back 4,000 years. The gourd plays a significant role in their cultural story telling and is an integral part of their heritage. Using gourds as their canvas and the simplest of tools, the skills of elaborate engraving and carving have been passed down through generations to capture their oral tradition and preserve ancient stories.

New this year the festival will welcome Native American artisans and weavers whose crafts reflect the cultural alliance they traditionally share with nature. When European explorers first made contact with Native Americans, they found extensive use of dried gourds and other natural materials creatively employed as containers, baskets, utensils, toys, musical instruments and bird houses to attract purple martins as a means of insect control.

One of the event's main attractions is the extensive gourd art and craft competition featuring the work of gourd artists from all parts of the country. Visitors can also attend classes or view demonstrations to learn techniques such as pyrography (wood burning) and carving. There will be local wood turners, "make and take" gourd projects for children and adults, vendors with arts and craft supplies, tools for sale, and farmers with mounds of dried gourds ready for crafting.

The indoor venue at the Kiwanis fairgrounds, 1025 South Hill St. in Griffin, is air conditioned, handicap friendly, and parking and admission are free. Details about this year's Gourdfest, class information and registration, as well as pictures from past festivals can be found on the gourd society's website at georgiagourdsociety.com.

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