Eat, drink, and enjoy the arts

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Last weekend, Peculiar got a well-rounded taste of the arts, as the Downtown Peculiar Arts and Cultural District put on the 5th annual Clara Brierly Festival.

Admission to the three-day event was free, and the weekend had a little bit of everything for everyone: live music and dancing, a talent show, art and food booths, wine tastings, and kids’ activities.

Brenda Conway has been president of the DPACD since day one. “This [event] is a huge part of our plan for downtown revitalization,” she said.

The DPACD’s key method of revitalizing downtown Peculiar is through the arts, and the purpose of the event is to bring the arts to the people. The Clara Brierly Festival brings people from all over into the town of Peculiar.

Since the event is free to attendees, the DPACD writes grants, gains sponsorships, and charges booth fees to cover the high cost.

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According to Conway, a festival of the arts is a smart way to go. “This is not stuffy,” she emphasized, explaining that everyone can find something they like at the event. Art is presented in a very attainable way, crossing generations, so that the festival can be appreciated by all who attend.

Artists from as far as Colorado and Arizona, and as close as Kansas and Missouri, came to share their creativity with the visitors at the Peculiar event.

Sean Tice, a photographer, is originally from Denver, Colorado, but is currently working out of Springfield, Missouri. He heard about the event and came to display and sell his original work.

Peery Lindsey, square dance instructor, hails from Belton. He will be giving lessons at Belton Christian Church starting in September. He and several square dancers put on a show for event attendees on Saturday afternoon.

Conway explained that one crucial aspect of the Clara Brierly event is first-time attendance: everyone who comes, she said, wants to come again. The event is made very accessible to the public: it is local, it is free, and the schedule of events is released in advance.

For more information about the DPACD and its events, visit www.downtownpeculiar.com.

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