The annual July 4th festival on Lookout Mountain, in Mentone, Ala., will be held, rain or shine, on July 7 and 8. Organized by the Mentone Area Arts Council, this midsummer event will feature a large and prestigious arts and crafts fair in Mason Park under the trees, free music by notable Alabama bands and artists, a pet pet parade and dog adoption to benefit the Humane Society and Animal Resources of DeKalb County, and a variety of America’s favorite foods.
The arts and crafts show, beginning at 9 a.m., will feature the works of about 65 premier artists and craftspeople who specialize in oil painting, pastels, watercolors, drawing, etching, black & white and color photography, soft and hard sculpture, wood turning and rustic furniture, pottery, forged and cut iron work, wearable art including leather and fabric handbags and handspun clothing, jewelry including fused glass earrings and pendants plus precious and semi-precious metals and stones.
The fantastic Pet Parade and Dog Adoption, sponsored by Ziggy’s Mountain Dog Stop of Mentone and benefitting the Humane Society and Animal Resource Center of DeKalb County, will gallop and trot the Mason Park perimeter at 10:30 am Saturday with birds, dogs, goats, cats, poultry, and other furry or feathered, scaled or finned participants. You can pre-register your pet @ firstname.lastname@example.org , or can enter at the gate to compete in a large number of categories for ribbon rosettes. Come one; come all. Entry contributions are accepted, but not required. If you don’t have a pet, apply for one of the puppies or adoptable dogs at the onsite Adoption Center and, if you act quickly enough, you can enter your new pet in the parade.
Music begins on Saturday at 11 a.m. as Mentone’s Nicole Jones, 13-year-old up-and-coming star, takes her song and guitar to the stage of the gazebo in Mason Park. She is back by popular request after her performance at Colorfest in 2011 where she was often compared to Taylor Swift. Between public performances, she writes book reports and does long division at Moon Lake School.
At 1 p.m., Chris Hale, Fort Payne banjo player, follows onstage. A modern day old-time banjo songster from the heart of Dixie, Chris is a unique performer whose tunes are a combination of Appalachian mountain music and country blues. With his feet stompin' to the rhythm of his five string banjo, Chris will shortly have your feet stomping with his.
At 3 p.m., Foggy Hollow Bluegrass Band of Webster’s Chapel, Alabama, will bring the string sounds of bluegrass --- banjo, fiddle, mandolin, guitar, and bass--- to the Mason Park Pavilion. The winners of many bluegrass competitions, they are also famous for their two decades of festivals in Webster’s Chapel where they host the likes of Alison Krauss, Tony Rice, IIIrd Tyme Out and many, many others notables of bluegrass fame in all-star extravaganzas. This is one of the weekend “don’t miss”es.
At 5 p.m. on Saturday, on the grounds of the Mentone Inn pavilion, Old Tymer’s Barbecue of Fort Payne will fill plates with their famous bbq dinner at $10 per plate.
At the same time, 5 p.m., tap your forks and toes to the music of Nature’s Way Band in another free concert at the pavilion. Old rock and rollers , these boys from Leesburg, Alabama, have had years of experience, played 100's of gigs and will wow the audience with rock and roll of the 50’s – 90’s. Their motto is “no boring music here”.
From 7 p.m. to about 9 p.m., by the time you have cleaned the barbecue sauce from your lips, Fort Payne’s own Stranded Band will take the stage at the pavilion to perform their renditions of country rock cover tunes. Fold out a lawn chair or spread a blanket to sing along with Ft. Payne’s hottest addition to our area musicians cache.
On Sunday morning at 11 a.m., the arts and crafts show will reopen in Mason Park.
By noon, hamburgers, hot dogs and local fare will be cooking for your Sunday dinner.
From 1–4 p.m. on Sunday, Matt Jones, singer and songwriter, will be onstage at the gazebo in Mason Park. With influences that range from Michael Hedges to Pierce Pettis and beyond, this Destin, Florida, native began his musical journey at the age of twelve when he first borrowed his brother's guitar. Two years later he was writing his own music and performing at his church with seasoned musicians.
His commitment came in 1994 when he relocated to the bustling music scene of Gainesville, FL and started performing in area clubs fronting a band called, "Odd Posture". With the help of his band mates, plans were put in place for a debut solo album. Released in late 1997, "Friend or Shadow" served notice that an impressive talent was making his presence known. The album prompted an admiring reviewer from "Performing Songwriter Magazine" to remark, "In a time when secondhand cynicism is equated with hipness and mistaken for wisdom, here's hoping Matt Jones continues to dance, love and sing."
While continuing his singing career, Matt opened Matt Jones Gallery in Tuscaloosa and then moved it to Birmingham in 2007 where it is the crown jewel for the city. Housed in a 7,500 square-foot century old iron finery, the gallery represents national and international artists. www.mattjonesgallery.com
Matt is a son in law of John and Beverly McNeil of Cloudland and spent many summers of his youth in Mentone.
Julyfest 2012 is made possible in part through a grant from the Alaabama State Council on the Arts for which the Mentone Area Arts Council is greatly appreciative.
Mentone, a quaint and historic mountain town, is situated on Lookout Mountain and provides the perfect getaway destination for all ages and interests. This sophisticated, yet relaxed, country village in scenic DeKalb County, Alabama, offers unique shopping; live music, art galleries and antiques shops, fine restaurants and casual fare; plus romantic bed & breakfasts, rental cabins, and family-friendly hotels; and some of the most spectacular scenery in the South. Come join us for Julyfest.