The 45th annual Melrose Plantation Arts and Crafts Festival is scheduled for April 6-7, according to Vicki Parrish, president of the Association for the Preservation of Historic Natchitoches (APHN), sponsor of the event.
More than 100 vendors feature hand-made items, many of which are one-of-a-kind. Among the items available to visitors will be original art works, stained glass, gourmet pickles and jellies, hand-made jewelry, clothing, photographs, plants, toys, woodworking products, wrought iron artwork, pottery and many other arts and crafts.
Tours of the plantation home, the “Big House,” will be available, with guides. Many renowned writers and artists visited and lived at the plantations. 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. 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 will include a children’s art workshop and a juried art contest for high school students. NSU students will provide a student exhibition of art. Ceramic demonstrations by NSU graduate students, James Stringer, Millard Mangrum, and NSU professors Patrick Ramke and Art DeFord will again feature the art of ceramics.
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 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.