The Surry Arts Council, Minglewood Nature Preserve, and the Mount Airy Photography Club are joining in downtown Mount Airy to provide free art and nature experiences for all ages this weekend.
Headlining the festival will be award winning nature photographer Bill Lee.
Photographing in the Smokies since 1975 has afforded him opportunities to observe and record the flora, fauna, and scenery of the region. More than 7,000 of his photos have been published. His work has appeared in Audubon Society Calendars, BBC Wildlife, Defenders of Wildlife, National Geographic, Nature Conservancy, and many others. He had three front covers in a row on Field & Stream which was a first in Field & Stream’s history. He also authored Great Smoky Mountains Wildlife Portfolio, and co-authored Great Smoky Mountains Wonder & Light and Ultimate Guide to Digital Nature Photography.
Events at the Andy Griffith Playhouse, 218 Rockford Street, will begin at 10 a.m. Saturday when beekeeper and storyteller Vicky Town will present a program and craft, Bee’s Knees, for families and children of all ages in the Andy Griffith Museum Theatre.
At the same time, Kayla Ellis will lead a critter painting class in the photo gallery on the lower level of the Andy Griffith Playhouse. Another painting class will follow this one at noon. Both classes are limited in size and are on a first-come first-served basis.
The music tent will be located in front of the Andy Griffith Playhouse. Jim Vipperman will offer hands-on experiences with guitars and fiddles from 11:30 a.m. until 1 p.m. At 1 o’clock, Peter Holland will take over the tent with interactive music and storytelling for all ages.
At 1:30 p.m. on the lawn of the Andy Griffith Playhouse, Heather Elliott will gather children and adults for a yoga and nature experience. No prior knowledge of yoga is required. At 1:30 p.m. guests of all ages may gather under the portico of the Andy Griffith Playhouse to begin a garden tour of the grounds with master gardener Ginny Adams.
At 2 p.m., The Andy Griffith Show fans can gather in the Andy Griffith Museum Theatre for a presentation by author and professor Neal Brower. His presentation will feature the episode “The Big House.”
John Floyd, author and comedian, will be in the Andy Griffith Museum throughout the day with his new children’s book “The Flower Lady.”
The Sweet Basil food truck will be on hand at the Andy Griffith Playhouse on Saturday from 11 a.m. until 2 p.m.
At 3:30 pm at the Historic Earle Theatre, 142 North Main Street, the Mount Airy Photography Club will host award winning nature photographer Bill Lea. His presentation, The Wonder & Art of the Black Bear, is free of charge and open to all ages. This presentation is followed by a Nature Photography Workshop at 5 p.m. for photographers of all levels.
At 7 p.m., the Disney movie “A Bug’s Life,” rated G, will be shown free of charge at the Historic Earle Theatre.
Minglewood Nature Preserve, 238 Minglewood Road, Westfield, is an outdoor learning center whose mission is to educate the community about sustainable food production and proper environmental stewardship. Minglewood is hosting free events on Saturday from 10 a.m. until 3 p.m. Events include art and nature crafts and nature walks. Designated areas at Minglewood will offer children opportunities to create artwork from nature.
On Sunday, from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m., Minglewood will offer free art and nature events including a scavenger hunt. During the hunt, families will hike in the woods while using cell phone photography to collect items spied from the list. At 5 p.m. a Sunday Supper with chef Chris Wishart will be held. Reservations required, and the cost is $75 per person; call 336-351-2945 for reservations. Visit the website www.minglewoodpreserve.org to find out more about arts activities, educational opportunities, and farm to table suppers, year round.
On Sunday “A Bug’s Life” will be shown free of charge at the Historic Earle Theatre at 4 p.m. and 7 p.m.
For more information, call Melissa Sumner at the Surry Arts Council at 336-786-7998 or Margie Imus at Minglewood Nature Preserve at 336-351-2945.