Arts festival mixes vendors, artisans and locals

Joe MacGown, left, was the winner of the Best In Show at the Juried Arts Competition at the Cotton District Arts Festival. This is the second year that he and his son, Joseph, right, have had a booth at the festival. (Submitted photo)
Staff Writer

The Cotton District Arts Festival wasn’t just for the enjoyment of the attendees, but also a celebration of local vendors and the artisans.

“I had a good time, a good show, and great weather, so everything was great,” artisan Scott Davidson said. “In fact, I did better than I did in the last couple years there.”

Davidson is from the Brandon/Flowood area, and has been coming to theCotton District Arts Festival for five or six years, selling recycled and repurposed bottles from his company, Wyne Chyme.
Davidson ‘s creations include bird feeders, oil lamps, centerpieces, wind chymes, and more. He said this year’s sales were better than the last two years’.

“It’s always a good show,” Davidson said. “People run it really well and I had good sales.”

Davidson takes bottles from local restaurants or that people give to him and makes products to sell at shows. He also has about 50 stores throughout the southeast that carry his products. He
goes to about 10 or 12 art shows a year.

Rosa Otondo, a co-chairman of the Artisan Village at the art festival, reported a large crowd and good sales for the artisans.

“We had a great day, and the village was filled with artisans,” Otando “We had record highs on number of artisans and amount of people coming. The village was so completely full that, sometimes, it was almost like a wall.”

This year, there was a 22 percent increase of artisans that were at the festival. There were over 180 artisans, with 160 booth.

There was a variety of products sold at the art festival, from paper mache to ceramics.

The winner of Best in Show at the Juried Arts competition was Joe MacGown, a scientific illustrator and curatorial assistant in Mississippi State University’s Department of Entomology.

This was MacGown’s second year at the Cotton District Arts Festival, where he and his son, Joseph, set up a booth together to share and sell their artwork.

“It was definitely worth going out,” MacGown said. “Our sales were good, we had a pretty good day, and we both like to talk to people a lot, so we enjoy spreading our art to others.”

MacGown said that he also enjoys the music, and their booth was close to one of the stages.

“This was our second year,” MacGown said. “We’re learning a lot more as we do it. Next year, we will probably expand to two tents, because we were really crowded
with all of our stuff, this year, and it has been going well enough.”

This year was The Pop Porium on Main Street’s first Cotton District Arts Festival.

“We have only been open for five weeks, so to be involved in Super Bulldog Weekend was big for us,” said Rosa Da Lomba, the owner and manager of the Pop Porium.

“They ran out of tables and booths and they created a package that allowed my staff to be foot vendors.”

Da Lomba said that The Pop Porium staff enjoyed selling their gourmet popcorn, and their Creamy Lemon Pie popcorn won the Most Innovative Company award in the Taste of Starkville competition.

After the festival, The Pop Porium had an increase in business not only on Saturday, but all the way to Wednesday.

“It was great. I’m a big fan of the arts and the music, and we won our first award,” Da Lomba said. “It was so unique. I loved it.”