LAUREL HILL — The lathe in Dannis Young’s woodshop is turning more frequently these days as he produces a variety of bowls, cups and other examples of fine turned wood artistry from locally sourced wood to exhibit.
In Linda Monte’s kitchen, the tempting aroma of homemade salsas, jams and jellies fills the air, while at The Baron’s Tea, Erica Teets hand blends her house specialties with fresh teas from around the world.
At Kristal Petruzzi’s Happy Lark Art Studio, colorful works in a variety of media are created by students and by Petruzzi herself. Sewing machines chatter in Pam Pursley’s work room as she creates tote bags from repurposed sacks, while Dr. Don Grundel takes a break from being an Air Force engineer to produce homemade soap from pigs raised on his farm.
These artists and artisans and more than 15 more creative locals, historical re-enactors, heritage groups and community services will fill the Laurel Hill Presbyterian Church’s spacious side yard for the fifth annual Laurel Hill Arts and Heritage Festival.
The spring event is an opportunity to showcase the talents of local creative minds in an event that is annually scheduled to complement the Baker Heritage Festival and the Laurel Hill Hobo Festival, which occur about half a year later.
Live music, like the arts and heritage displays around the churchyard, is purely local. Returning performers include acoustic guitarist and vocalist Aaron Overton and Emerald Coast Pipes and Drums, two favorites who have played at the festival since its inception as a fall event in the late 2000’s.
The Wesley Boys gospel quartet and its women's counterpart, The Wesley Girls, of the First United Methodist Church of Crestview, soothe the ear and the soul with their smooth harmonies and uplifting traditional songs.
New this year is pop and oldies guitarist and vocalist Doug Black—and possibly his brother, Robert, school schedule permitting—while Christian rocker Scott Hicks makes a return visit.
Community organizations offering information about cultural opportunities include the Baker Block Museum, Friends of the Crestview Library, and the Crestview Area Sister City program. The OneBlood bloodmobile will accept blood donations from eligible donors.
With food including grilled wieners by the First Presbyterian Church of Crestview men’s group, baked goods by the Laurel Hill Presbyterian Church, soft drinks and snacks by Laurel Hill School fifth-graders, and the ever-popular Scout Cobbler, prepared in Dutch ovens and served piping hot by the Crestview Troop 773 Boy Scouts, the festival is delight for all the senses.
Limited spaces are still available for local artists and exhibitors of home-crafted foods and creative works (no corporate sales reps, please).