IF YOU GO
• What: Finster Fest 2011
• When: Saturday: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Sunday: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
• Where: Howard Finster's Paradise Gardens, 84 Knox St., Summerville, Ga.
• Admission: Free
• For more information: www.finsterparadisegardens.org or call 423-619-8154 or 706-859-1452
This weekend's Finster Fest in Chattooga County will add a traveling circus troupe to the schedule of events celebrating the life and work of renowned folk artist Howard Finster.
"Howard would love it," said Tommy Littleton, one of the event organizers. "I can't imagine his reaction would be anything but loving it."
The six-member troupe from South Carolina will feature jugglers, magic and acrobatics amidst the art and live music performances.
"They were inspired by Howard, and so they were inspired to come participate," Littleton said.
Finster, a bicycle repairman and evangelist turned folk artist, died in 2001. Famous for his Coke bottles and angels, Finster's works are displayed at museums and private collections across the country including the High Museum in Atlanta and the American Folk Art Museum in New York.
His biggest work, the Folk Art Chapel, remains in Pennville, a tiny Chattooga County community just north of Summerville where the festival will be held.
Littleton said the festival this year will feature 45 to 60 artists and 15 bands.
"It's kind of a big folk art family reunion," he said.
The event is free, but donations are being accepted for tornado relief in Ringgold and Tuscaloosa.