The 47th annual Melrose Plantation Arts and Crafts Festival is scheduled for April 17-18 according to Vicki Parrish, president of the Association for the Preservation of Historic Natchitoches (APHN), sponsor of the event.
This annual outdoor event will feature more than 60 vendors selling hand-made items, many of which are one-of-a-kind. Among the items available to visitors will be original art works, gourmet tea and jellies, hand-made jewelry, clothing, photographs, plants, toys, woodworking products, wrought iron artwork, pottery and many other arts and crafts.
Guided tours of the plantation home, the “Big House,” and African House will be available. Many renowned writers and artists visited and lived at the plantation. Probably the best known resident of Melrose was Clementine Hunter, who came to the plantation as a field hand and taught herself to paint using paints and brushes discarded by an artist at Melrose. The restored Clementine Hunter murals are on display in their original home on the second floor of the African House. Hunter’s paintings have gained national and international notoriety, and some of her works hang in the Louvre in Paris. She is one of the most recognized primitive artists in Louisiana history.
This year, the event has been modified to ensure a safe experience for visitors, vendors, and workers. Masks will be required to be worn at all times on site. Hand sanitization stations will be erected. All vendor booths will be spaced out and the number of people on site will be carefully monitored to ensure social-distancing guidelines are met.
The festival is sponsored by APHN and annually attracts more than 2,000 visitors during the two-day event. The Melrose Arts and Crafts Festival will open at 9 a.m. on Saturday and at 10 a.m. on Sunday. Tickets are $5 for adults and $2 for children ages 6-12. Tickets for tours of the Big House are $5. Self-guided tours of the grounds and viewing of all the historic buildings are free.
Additional information about Melrose Plantation and the annual Arts and Crafts Festival may be found at www.melroseplantation.org.