Chattanooga Now Family-friendly Finster Fest this weekend in Summerville (June 8-9)

Chattanooga Now Family-friendly Finster Fest this weekend in Summerville (June 8-9)

June 6th, 2013 by Karen Nazor Hill in Chattnow Outabout

School field trips are popular at Paradise Garden, the eclectic collection of buildings, sculptures and displays created by the late Howard Finster. Tours of the property will be offered during this weekend's Finster Fest in Summerville, Ga.

Photo by Paradise Garden Foundation



What: Finster Fest 2013

When: 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturday, June 8; noon-5 p.m. Sunday, June 9

Where: Dowdy Park, corner of University Street and Highway 27, Summerville, Ga.

Admission: Free



What: Man of Vision Concert, featuring Norman and Nancy Blake, James Bryan, Bruce Hampton, von Grey and Saint Francis

When: 5-11 p.m. Saturday, June 8

Where: West Washington Street (near Summerville Train Depot), Summerville, Ga.

Admission: $10 general, $25 VIP


Nine years before he died, Baptist minister/folk artist Howard Finster and his family began Howard Finster Day in an effort to share his ministry and art with the public. The annual event, originally held at Finster's home, Paradise Garden, in Summerville, Ga., has evolved into Finster Fest, a two-day festival that is held at Dowdy Park nearby, with shuttle tours to the eclectic property Finster called home.

To be held this weekend, June 8-9, Finster Fest is a family-friendly event with art, music and food, says spokesman Jordan Poole.

The event was first held to bring awareness to regional artists, such as Finster, who completed more than 46,000 paintings by the time he died at age 85 in 2001. Chief among his creations was Paradise Garden, a maze of buildings, sculptures and displays, a wealth of cast-off objects that create an interactive experience for visitors.

Poole says return visitors to Paradise Garden will notice improvements made over the past year. He credits the hard work of the Paradise Garden Foundation as well as "a hometown rallying around a local treasure and working to revive it."

While Finster's original artwork was once available for purchase at Paradise Garden, it's now mostly sold by dealers and auction houses. Only prints and other souvenirs such as T-shirts and bumper stickers are available for purchase at Paradise Garden.

"We have prints of his work in a large range of $5 to over $100," Poole says.

The festival also will feature 10 bands playing over the two days, as well as a separate Man of Vision Concert on Saturday.

Set to perform in the daily shows are The Kernel, The Bohannans, Soul Gravy, Sweet Kneivel, Jerry on the Moon, Scott Warren and the Booze Mountaineers, Stormy and Adrian Fischer, Christian Herring & True Blues, The Strange and The Van Lears.

The Man of Vision Concert will feature Grammy Award-winning musicians/singers Norman and Nancy Blake, as well as James Bryan, Bruce Hampton, von Grey and Saint Francis.

Contact staff writer Karen Nazor Hill at or 423-757-6396. Follow her on Twitter at Subscribe to her posts on Facebook at