The 19th Annual Plantation Wildlife Arts Festival
By Rachelle Siegrist
Wes, me and John, with our miniature paintings at the show
Wes and I left early last Thursday morning, and headed south, to picturesque Thomasville, GA where we would be participating in the 19th Annual Plantation Wildlife Arts Festival this past weekend. It was a gorgeous, sunny day and I was delighted with the prospects of warmer weather awaiting us there! About half way there, I was a very happy girl, while enjoying my fresh boiled peanuts, and wearing sandals once again! We arrived safely that evening and were delighted to stay with our dear friend, Mary once again this year, who lives in a beautiful home near the Cultural Center, along with her sweet dog, Maggie. Friday morning, after an enjoyable breakfast consisting of Mary’s delicious scrambled eggs and fresh tangerines, we were ready to hang our work in preparation for the gala opening that evening.
Once our miniature paintings were hung, we enjoyed a nice lunch at Subway with friends, artist Vicky and Donny Ferguson. Leaving there, the four of us headed to one of my favorite places to spend the day, Birdsong Nature Center! The property consisting of 565 acres which use to be a plantation, and is now enjoyed by visitors who love hiking the 12 miles of trails and birdwatching. We were blessed with another gorgeous day, as we walked the numerous trails leading through woodlands, open fields, and along wetland areas and small ponds.
A nice grouping of Beauty Berries along one of the paths
A lovely view of the Big Bay Swamp
We saw several flocks of ducks in the Big Bay Swamp area, which would take flight, circling above and then land in an adjacent area of the wetlands, each time, just close enough that we could barely catch a glimpse of them. Flocks of warblers also flew in and joined us in a couple of areas, landing in the tops of the numerous pine trees surrounding us. It was a most relaxing and enjoyable afternoon, as the four of us walked along the wooded paths, talking and simply enjoying being immersed in nature! Then we spent a half hour or so, sitting in front of the large bird viewing window, while observing and watching the numerous visitors to the peaceful setting. However, all too soon the afternoon passed and it was time to leave.
A Bumblebee collects pollen from an Indian Pipe bloom
Donny, me and Vicky by one of the ponds
Wes and Donny watching the ducks
The gala opening that evening was packed with enthusiastic patrons, and as usual we were all treated to delicious southern delicacies, a favorite being the fried grouper! We were quite happy to see and visit with several of our collector friends there that evening. Saturday brought crowds of attendees and visits with numerous collector friends, and sales! That evening we were given a royal treat, while attending a private preview reception at the stunningly beautiful Pebble Hill Plantation! They graciously opened the gorgeous plantation home to us, allowing us to walk through at our leisure. Several friendly staff members were there to answer questions and share interesting historical facts about the home. Each room brought numerous surprises being filled with an array of stunning furniture, art and collectables, all original and having belonged to the Hannah family. Visiting the upstairs gallery was most enjoyable as well! To top it off, we were offered a delicious array of hors d’oeuvres beautifully arranged on the moonlit veranda! It was certainly a delightful time, and I must say I enjoyed every minute of this walk back in time, to a period of grace and beauty! Leaving there we joined the many others who had already arrived at the Bird Dog Bash party, situated under the large spreading canopy of numerous Live Oaks with branches gracefully adorned with Spanish Moss. This lovely setting combined with the rustic barn and large tent, created a most picturesque setting for the big event! We left later that night, having enjoyed much laughter, great conversation and tasty food even with the early rains which failed to dampen the exciting atmosphere!
Lou and I at the Bird Dog Bash
Although Sunday brought stormy weather, the show brought more crowds and sales. That evening we were delighted to join friends John and Connie at their beautiful historic home for dinner, along with several other artists and friends. It was a delightful time and a most wonderful ending to a great weekend! We want to extend a big heart felt “Thank You” to the hard working show committee for the Plantation Wildlife Arts show, to our dear collector friends, existing and new, for making it a great show, and to our dear friend Mary, who graciously let us invade her lovely home and took care of us during our stay in Thomasville!
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Until next time . . .