Friday, Aug. 20, 2004 | 5:03 a.m.
August 21 - 22, 2004
Believe it or not, only a few months remain until the holiday season begins.
The 17th annual Harvest Festival is coming to Cashman Center at 850 Las Vegas Blvd. from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Friday and Aug. 28 and from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Aug. 29 to offer early shoppers the chance to purchase arts and crafts while enjoying food, demonstrations and entertainment.
More than 250 exhibitors are scheduled to fill Cashman with products that have made it through the festival's tough "jury system," which ensures the quality of the creations for sale.
To pass the test, each exhibitor must send in a photo of the artist, the workshop, the festival booth and the completed work, which must be handmade in the United States or Canada.
"Any product they (exhibitors) are going to sell at the event has to be approved by the Harvest Festival," spokesman Chris Meehan said.
The festival will offer wood carvings, jewelry, ceramics, hand-painted clothing, leather wear, fiber art, hand-blown glassware, wooden toys, oil and watercolor paintings, metal, stone and wood sculpture, lithographs, seasonal wreaths, hand-turned furniture and candles.
Every piece is judged on six different criteria, including craftsmanship, originality and design.
Such scrutiny hasn't deterred the festival's artists, who often come back year after year to display their wares. About two-thirds of exhibitors on this year's 12-city tour are return vendors, Meehan said.
For artists new to the show, the festival plans to feature a "New Product Showcase" that will allow veteran attendees to visit a single area to see fresh pieces.
The 20,000 people expected to attend the festival can even watch some artists demonstrating the process of creating their works.
"You can see how these products are made," Meehan said. "It's unique work -- very high quality."
In addition to visual artists, the show will also include culinary artists. Packages of gourmet spices, soups, sauces, chocolate, bread and pasta will be available for both purchase and sampling.
To entertain shoppers during their explorations of the art and food booths, the festival plans to host a variety of performers.
The bandstand stage will feature the Murmaids, an a capella oldies band, and Mogollon, a country and rockabilly group. Big Mama Sue and Papa Carlos, Derek the Mime and the Rhythm Cats, a swing and jazz band, are booked as strolling acts.
Children can look forward to entertainment as well, Meehan said, since the event has organized "Make It and Take It" sites, where youth can donate a few dollars to Sunrise Children's Hospital to construct their own crafts to take home.
"The kids can be doing things to have fun as well, so it can make it a great family experience," Meehan said.
Attendants can get a dollar off of the $7.50 three-day ticket price by donating canned food, paper products or baby food or formula to Safe Nest, a nonprofit agency that provides temporary assistance to families in domestic crisis.
With donations from about half of festival goers, Meehan said, the agency's pantry could be stocked for an entire year.