PARKERSBURG - Arts and crafts of all kinds were seen Saturday during the first day of the 48th annual Harvest Moon Arts and Crafts Festival at Parkersburg's City Park.
Exhibitors at the festival said business was good and the crowds appeared to be about the same or heavier than 2009.
For Katie Ferguson, her appearance making pottery Saturday was her first in a number of years.
Bethany Graham, a member of the Stillwell 4-H Club, stirs a kettle of apple butter for the club’s demonstration at the 48th annual Harvest Moon Arts and Crafts Festival. (Photo by Jeffrey Saulton)
"I started doing this when I was 12 years old," she said. "My first show here was at 16 when I was a student at Parkersburg Catholic High School."
Ferguson sells her pottery as K.T. Pottery in Williamstown and she recently decided to make pottery her full-time job. She said the average piece takes about 20 hours to make from the first time the clay is on the wheel until it is fired for the second time.
Ferguson said business was good at the Harvest Moon event Saturday.
"This has been a good show," she said. "There is a lot of good art here and the entertainment has been good."
While she was making her wares, her father, David, was making his chain saw carvings, something he has been doing since 1992. Some of his work is on display in area parks, including City Park.
"I began just by whittling and decided to see if I could make some money from it," he said.
The elder Ferguson said his carving takes him anywhere from five minutes for a small item to 90 minutes for larger items like a 22-foot totem pole and a 14-foot Indian. He said business for the 2010 show has been outstanding for him.
"I came here with 18 pieces and I have one left," he said Saturday afternoon. "I've got enough wood for about 12 more pieces."
Beth Ann Weber was showing how soap was made when the Mid-Ohio Valley was settled. Weber owns Appalachian Heritage Soap and Sundries.
"I make this soap over a fire with lard and lye," she said.
Weber said she is self-taught when it comes to her soap making.
"I researched how to make soap and began making it."
After the soap mixture boils over a fire for four to six hours, it takes another four to six hours for it to cool. Even then, the soap must sit for another four weeks before it safe to use since the lye is not completely dissolved in the mixture.
"I make this at home in a crock pot," she said. "It can be made without heat. We know today the chemical reaction between the fat and lye will take place without heat, they didn't know that back then."
Apple butter made in kettles over a fire was demonstrated by members of the Stillwell 4-H Club on Saturday. Darin Affolter, an adult volunteer with the club, said the club members prepare for several days before for the Harvest Moon demonstration.
"A lot of preparation goes into this," he said. "They have to get it ready so we can start cooking when the festival opens."
Affolter said on Saturday and today the 45 to 50 members and volunteers will make about 15 dozen quarts of apple butter.
Two basket makers, Shannon Flanagan and Peggy Squires, were showing their baskets at the show on Saturday. Flanagan makes and sells her baskets in Ravenswood and Squires does the same in Deerwalk
"We have our own businesses but we work together on shows," Flanagan said. "We go to shows together so we can take breaks and we go to conventions and other events."
Flanagan has been making baskets for eight years and has been an exhibitor at the Harvest Moon festival for three years. Squires has been making baskets for 10 years. Flanagan said her baskets feature small oil paintings on them while Squires makes her baskets to incorporate antlers from the deer her husband hunts. They said business at the festival has gone well this year.
The Harvest Moon Festival continues from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. today at City Park. Admission is $3 general and $2 for seniors with children 10 and under admitted free. A special event today will be the second annual Harvest Moon Auction at 1 p.m. with items donated by the show's crafters and artists.
The Harvest Moon Festival is a major fundraiser of the Wood County Recreation Commission, with proceeds going toward the commission's programs throughout the year.