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Long-Lasting Art Festival Memories

I’ve been to many Fairs, Carnivals, and Festivals in my life and professionally as a photographer, but I’ve never been involved with, nor experienced any during a world pandemic as was the case during COVID-19 and the 2021 North Carolina Whirligig Festival in Wilson, NC.

I was a member of the Festival committee made up of community volunteers that worked diligently for 4 months straight to ensure a safe, eventful, and unforgettable community event, and I believe our mission was accomplished.

I was on the Visual Arts committee responsible for the art competitions, exhibitions, and activities in the Vollis Simpson Whirligig Park and the new Wilson Arts center.

The weather was quite windy and cold, but it did not stop the streets of Historic Downtown Wilson from being completely full on both Saturday and Sunday.  This was my first Whirligig Festival, and I had only been told about it prior.  I am certain that it’s more than a Festival, it is a faithful tradition of amazing food smells, and good town smiles, something I needed to personally reenergize.

There were many outdoor activities, events, and entertainment throughout the streets of downtown Wilson.  Chalk Art competitions and live Painting took place in Whirligig Park.

I had the pleasure of meeting and making images of the Festival’s annual Live Painting Artist, Mr. Dan Nelson while he painted this year’s large Festival painting.

Local Mural Artists, Ashley Fabrizio, Krs Woodard, and Luanda Wiggins painted several 4’x8′ plywood masterpieces on material donated by the local Lowe’s.  These Murals were donated to the “Spot”, a local community center for youth.  Ashley and Krs collaborated on a final Mural they titled “#GiveItaWhirl”, and donated it to the North Carolina Whirligig Festival Non-Profit Organization.

I was happy to see off-the-hook Chalk Art by many local artists, some doing so for the first time.  Juan Carlos Duron-Martinez created an amazing shaded Rose that was selected as the winner.  Thank goodness I had nothing to do with have to judge any of the competitions, it would not have been an easy task.

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