LAUREL HILL — Blue skies, a gentle breeze and balmy temperatures drew an estimated 200 people from throughout the north county and Alabama to Laurel Hill on Saturday for an afternoon of music, food and visual arts.
The bagpipes’ haunting call, heard blocks away, heralded the Laurel Hill Spring Arts Festival as Emerald Coast Pipes and Drums took to the stage. Festivalgoers strolled along the grounds of Laurel Hill Presbyterian Church, which hosted the event as part of its 115th anniversary Homecoming weekend.
<< Click "Related Media" at top left of this article to see video of Emerald Coast Pipes and Drums performing "Amazing Grace."
As they admired art or sat beneath a large festival tent to enjoy music, students and adults from Laurel Hill School sold food and drinks. Sales benefited fifth-graders’ upcoming trip to New Orleans — which more than 30 students plan to attend — and the Hobo baseball team.
The trip costs $250 per student. Food sales brought students $141closer to their goal.
"The event may have been just enough to put those students over the edge, and now we have enough funds in their account to go on the trip," fifth-grade teacher Deborah Welsh said.
Fifth-graders sold drinks from a cooler on wheels dragged around the artists' tents while their friends on the baseball team displayed plates of barbecue.
The team raised nearly $500 selling barbecue plates, sandwiches and smoked Boston butts, according to coach Ronnie Smith.
A bake sale by the church's Presbyterian Women raised $80, which was divided between the two student groups.
Performing groups included Crestview High School students comprising the Sax to the Max quartet, which kicked off their performance of diverse music with Alfred Newman's iconic "20th Century-Fox Fanfare."
An eclectic repertoire by Crestview acoustic guitarist Aaron Overton ranged from The Beatles and Cat Stevens, while Southern gospel harmonies by The Wesley Boys quartet rounded out the day's entertainment.
The Okaloosa Arts Alliance-North and the Friends of the Arts supported the event.
Contact News Bulletin Staff Writer Brian Hughes at 850-682-6524 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @cnbBrian.