After Panoply, I didn't think a festival could get any better. Lower Town proved me wrong. Every part of this festival was well-organized and also (this is very unusual) RELAXING.
Paducah, KY is a 3 1/2 hour drive for us so in deciding when to leave here, we had to juggle a few things. When we realized there was a community potluck dinner for artists Thursday evening at 6:30, we knew we'd be leaving right after I got off work at 1pm. Before I had a job and David went to work every day, the day before a trip was me getting clothes together, bathing dogs, packing up. This time, I went to work and when David picked me up the truck was packed and every other thing was done. He did a great job with everything from cleaning the house and dogs :) to getting food together for us. So at 1pm, we got on the road.
The plan was to get there early enough so we could meet our home stay host. This was new for us too, but we had had email communication already so it wasn't meeting a TOTAL stranger. We got to Paducah early enough to stop at Walmart and buy her some flowers, then find her home. Turns out we had a little communication issue and she wasn't home when we got there so we went to the potluck first, and it was wonderful. When we did finally meet her, it was instantly like just being at home. We had so much in common, she and her home were completely warm and inviting. We were so relaxed and had amazing conversation. I think we all feel that we've become friends and will stay in touch. It set the tone for the weekend, for sure.
We set up Friday morning after a leisurely breakfast our host prepared for us. The weather was cool and we were able to park directly on the street where our booth was. It went smoothly and we had a chance to walk around. Lower Town is an area of old beautiful houses and lots of artists that moved there with the Artist Relocation Program. It's charming and friendly. The festival started at 3pm and sales were very slow until after the evening crowd showed up, at which time it picked up and went strong until late in the evening. There was also a judge that came around to decide the awards. David was given an Award of Merit (announced Saturday morning) and this was another honor for him. We were provided a boxed dinner and regular water refills in the water bottle they gave us. We also had a hospitality suite in a gorgeous old house, and there was always hot coffee, ice cold water, plenty of snacks and luxury bathrooms. Much better than the port a potties we sometimes have.
We got back to our host house at 11pm or so and caught up with her. She's very supportive of art and was encouraging. In the morning, she made breakfast again and sent us off with a prayer and well-wishes for good sales and weather. And we got both! This festival was a combination of everything we've loved at other festivals. We tore down Sunday morning after a restful night. They encourage artists to stay until Sunday and have a leisurely tear down, and the hospitality suite stays open so we took their advice. Then we drove down to the river before heading home.
The festival was really good. From the layout, to the other artists, sales, musical performances on the main stage right across from us, weather...everything was top-notch. There was a 60% chance of thunderstorms for MUCH of the weekend and we had one small rain shower. That is unbelievable to me. It was all just a really good weekend and we hope to return. Something about Kentucky! I hope that continues in 2 weeks when we do Butchertown in Louisville.
Presbyterian Church we passed on the walk to our spot
There were FOUR after parties this weekend. We didn't attend, but they definitely like to keep the fun going.
This was behind us. Awesome neighborhood and friendly residents.
I want to live in this apartment building
This was where the headquarters were set up
Hospitality suite for artists
View of the main stage from in front of our booth
Mural on flood wall. Each panel tells a different part of Paducah history.
Thanks for reading :)