The early registration deadline date of May 20 is quickly approaching for fine artists, crafters, authors and sugar artists to get signed up for the 51st Nescatunga Arts Festival happening on the downtown square in Alva, Oklahoma, on Saturday, June 4, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. followed by the Salt Fork June Jam that will take over the square at the close of the arts festival until 9 p.m.
Registration will continue to be accepted for the arts festival after this date; however, the fees will double in price. Forms and more information are available at www.nescatunga.org.
Booth space for fine artists, crafters and authors is $25 for the first space and $15 for additional spaces but will increase to $50 after the early deadline.
Fees to enter the Sugar Show are $10 per category but will double to $20 after the early deadline.
Students may register in all areas free of charge.
Erin Davis, a university relations specialist at Northwestern Oklahoma State University, has assumed the duties of Nescatunga president following in the footsteps of long-time president Charla Parker. Davis said she is excited to finally be able to bring this festival to the community again after the Covid pandemic put a halt to it for a couple of years.
“The festival has such a long history in Alva, and we’re excited to keep the tradition going,” Davis said. “It has been a learning process, and we’re so thankful for the support and encouragement we’ve received from past coordinators of the event. I’m very lucky to have a hard-working group of people with the same passion and dedication to bring a family fun arts-centered event to our area.”
Fine arts categories include oil/acrylic, watercolor, pastels, mixed media, graphics/pen and ink/pencil, printing making, photography, pottery, sculpture (wood, metal, mineral), fiber arts like quilting/weaving/basketry, and designer arts and jewelry. Book authors also are welcome.
Craft categories include wood toys/furniture, ceramics/glass, clothing, soft toys, decorative items, jewelry, craft food, repurposed items, home goods/accessories, and other items.
Anyone who would like to have their quilts on display in the Woods County Courthouse also needs to contact Quilt Show Chair Rose Mary McFall at (580) 829-3011.
Eleven different entertainment acts are scheduled to perform on the bandstand stage on the courthouse lawn throughout the event, and a number of family fun activities also will be available on the lawn.
Nescatunga committee members also are excited about the new event they have added to the day’s festivities in the Sugar Show that will take place in the eXtreme building, 425 College.
Nescatunga secretary April Ridgway first got the idea for a Sugar Show after some of the cookies she had created were referred to as works of art, so she started thinking about having a time and a place where local decorators could show their talents in Alva.
“I am hoping that I can inspire the participants to really stretch themselves and bring items that reflect creativity and artistry using the medium of sugar, cookies, cake and frosting.”
Ridgway also said entering the Sugar Show contest will be a great way to get the word out to the public about who all decorates cakes, cookies and cupcakes in this area.
The sugar artists may enter decorated cakes, cookies and cupcakes. All cakes should have at least two tiers, and a dozen decorated cookies and cupcakes should be created in those categories.
There will be three divisions: Professionals, who may enter with non-edible “dummy” cakes as well as edible cakes; and Aspiring Artists and Students, who will enter with edible cakes.
Items will be judged on six criteria: Overall Appearance, Number of Techniques Used, Precision, Originality of Design and Level of Difficulty.
There will be one first-place prize in each category, a $100 Best of Show prize sponsored by BancCentral, and a $100 People’s Choice award sponsored by Holder Drug.
“I know there are lots of home bakers in the area who sell from their kitchens, and I think that this will be a great way to get them out where they can meet new customers,” Ridgway said. “I am hoping that they can get to know each other better as well.”
Another inspiration for the local Sugar Show comes from when she and her daughter Elisabeth attended the 25th anniversary and final show of the Oklahoma State Sugar Art Show at the Tulsa State Fair in 2018, which Ridgway said was “amazing and a little intimidating.”
Ridgway noted that there are no Sugar Shows in close proximity to Oklahoma any longer, so starting something in Alva could be a very positive thing for the community as it grows.
Those who entered will be able to set up their displays from 8 to 8:45 a.m. on Saturday with judging to begin at 9 a.m. The public will be allowed to enter the building at about 10:30 a.m.
For additional information on the arts festival, email the Festival committee at NescatungaArts@yahoo.com. More information also is available on the website or by visiting the festival’s Facebook page at www.facebook.com/nescatungaarts.