The Middle Ages is the focus of the annual New Horizons Arts Festival that will be held Friday and Saturday by Columbia County Leisure Services and Columbia County Arts Inc.
"The theme lent itself to so many ideas - atmosphere, production, presentation, festival, celebration, playing dress up - all that stuff," said Ron Jones, a member of the Columbia County Arts Inc. board and executive director of the Ron Jones Ballet Academy. "We're going to have games for children, sword-fighting with Behind the Masque, a court jester, someone walking on stilts.
"We're hoping it will be more of an attraction. It's not some generic fall festival. Whoever participates, if they can engage in this theme, it opens the door to a whole new world."
The Medieval Fest events Friday will be at Savannah Rapids Pavilion.
Activities will include a juried art show, a reception, a silent auction and entertainment. An exhibition of works from the art show will be from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. The reception will be from 7:30 to 9:30 p.m.
Some of the entertainment at Savannah Rapids will include a court dance, a fortune teller, a jester, pages with trumpets and singing groups.
Friday guests are asked to wear business attire or medieval costumes.
Saturday events will be from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Patriots Park and will include amusement rides, refreshments, live entertainment, craft vendors, story time for children, artwork from local pupils and an antique show.
"Those attending this year's art festival will be very impressed," said Beth Roberson, the special events coordinator of leisure services. "We have made several changes, additions and improvements from years past."
The roving performing arts group Behind the Masque will be featured on both days.
"We are adaptive entertainment," said Behind the Masque actress Emily Greene." Give us a situation, any situation, and we'll handle it. If we're performing and something happens, we adapt to whatever happens."
Entertainment provided by Behind the Masque will include a court jester, a stilt walker, sword fighters, a fountain and mimes.
Admission to both days of the festival is free, except for a $4 entry fee to Saturday's antique show.
For more information and invitations to the Savannah Rapids leg of the festival, call 868-3484. To find out more about activities at Patriots Park, call 868-3458.
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