By Cory Hancock
MABLETON, Ga. -- For some in the Mableton community, festivals and gatherings aren’t all too common, but the inaugural Spring Arts Festival hosted Saturday hoped to blossom a new era.
The Spring Arts Festival was held on the grounds of the historic Mable House, the Mable House arts center, and the Mable House Barnes Amphitheatre to showcase each venue’s offerings, said Mable House arts center coordinator Libby Geiselmayr. She said they were hoping more than 1,000 people would attend throughout the day.
“We have a very busy summer season, and we thought this would be an excellent way to kickoff,” Geiselmayr said. “It’s music, it’s performance and it’s visual, so we thought a spring arts fest in general, encompassing all of those, would be the best way we could celebrate.”
Food trucks and a beer and wine garden provided patrons with a variety of cuisine options, and performances by members of the Mableton theatre project’s “Mamma Mia!” cast, Angela Reign and others provided entertainment.
The “curated area” of the festival hosted organizations and groups who were personally invited to demonstrate what they do, Geiselmayr said.
Robin Meyer, co-chair of Georgia Celebrates Quilts, was in attendance as part of that curated area to promote the quilt show, showcase the East Cobb Quilter’s Guild and connect with the community. The guild was also in the process of beginning and creating a quilt at the festival.
“It’s a beautiful day, people are interested in pretty things, and it’s just a great opportunity to show people what the modern state of quilting is,” Meyer said. “It’s the best of both worlds because I live here in Mableton, so to be able to share with my friends and neighbors a part of my life that they don’t necessarily see all the time is great.”
Outside of the curated area, more than 15 vendors set up shop to display their handmade goods and other items for sale that attendees could browse. Dana Clariett traveled from East Atlanta to exhibit her handmade jewelry.
“It helps me get out the marketing for my business, it gives me feedback on the quality of my gemstones and the combinations, and I take that in and incorporate it into my line,” Clariett said. “So it’s very important to me to get out to touch and meet people.”
While the event helped vendors, creators and curators display their works, Geiselmayr said they planned the event by thinking from the perspective of a community member and what they would want to see.
The Easter family said they attended the festival because of the nice weather and they try to do things in the community, and they hope to see more events like the festival going forward.
“If it’s a family-friendly event and geared toward incorporating things that the kids can do and keep them occupied, definitely,” Jasmine Easter said. “It’s nice to be able to do stuff around the corner from your house.”
Joel Cope, president of the Mableton Improvement Coalition, also hopes events like the Spring Arts Festival will become a mainstay in Mableton.
“We need to have more events like this where people have tents — and vendors — and you have a chance to talk to people, interact with, and support,” Cope said. “It creates a sense of community.”
With the festival bringing people from various sectors of the Mableton community, many of those in attendance bounced from tent to tent meeting new people and fortifying old friendships. Meyer, who also serves as chairman of the MIC board, made her way to that tent and spoke with many of those she knows and others she didn’t along the way.
“We don’t have a central gathering place, and whether it was intended to be or not, this really is our town hall. This is the center of Mableton,” Meyer said. “Communities are made of tradition, and I hope this is the start of a great tradition.”