By MAGGIE MCMURRAY
Moapa Valley Progress
It’s pomegranate season once again and that means jelly everywhere! Of course, there is no better place to stock up on your yearly supply of pomegranate jelly than at Moapa Valley’s most unique claim-to-fame: the annual Pomegranate Arts Festival.
Of course, jelly is not the only thing offered at the festival. Sponsored by the Moapa Valley Art Guild, the festival specializes in products of all types that are home-grown, home-crafted, and home-made, making it a unique place to buy one-of-a-kind or unique gifts for Christmas or other holidays.
This year’s festival, which is free to the public, will be held on November 3-4 at the Clark County Fairgrounds. Doors open both mornings at 9 am and close both afternoons at 4 pm. Live entertainment will be ongoing both days and is also free.
Friday’s acts include local favorites like DelMar Leatham’s cowboy poetry, the singing of Sammi Webber, Jason Ham on the guitar, the Senior Center Line Dancers, and the multi-talented Madison Bush. Saturday’s line-up includes Mama’s Wranglers, the Desert Dance Academy, “In Harmony”, and the lovely voice of Rachel Garcia, to name a few.
Preparations for the festival have been ongoing for the better part of a year. Last week, the Art Guild met for their annual “Jelly Day” and made 780 pints of jelly to sell at the festival. Nearly 200 of these were their famous chipotle pomegranate jelly.
Art Guild members are not the only ones making jelly, however. Many vendors also sell variations on the pomegranate jelly theme. There is always straight pomegranate, which is a family favorite for many, but for the more adventurous jelly-eaters there are varieties such as pomegranate lime, jalapeno, and even one called “Alligator Jelly” that is advertised to “bite you back.”
Art Guild president Jackie Worthen says that the festival is about more than just jelly, though. Many vendors work their travel just to attend this festival. Vendor products range from wood crafts, art, and photography, to fabric crafts, pottery, metal-working, carving, and about anything else you can dream of.
From its humble beginnings 22 years ago in the parking lot of Home Hardware, the festival has moved first to Old Logandale School to its present home at the Clark County Fairgrounds. This year Worthen estimates that there will be over 100 arts and crafts vendors plus another 9 food vendors.
“It has become more successful every year,” Worthen said. “Last year we had an attendance of about 8,000 people, which was an increase of about 2,000 people over the previous year. We anticipate a similar increase this year as word of this fun and unique event spreads.”
The Art Guild will also be sponsoring a children’s art project on Saturday morning from 10-1. Children can come and learn the joy of artistic creativity for themselves.
The Guild will also be holding a raffle. The grand prize will be a beautiful pomegranate-themed quilt made by guild member Maggie Nichols. But there will be many other prizes as well. This year raffle tickets are $1 each or 6 for $5. All money collected from the raffle goes to the Art Guild’s scholarship program. The Guild provides scholarships to several MVHS graduates every year to help them pursue their studies in art.
“We are truly thankful for the great support we get from Moapa Valley,” Worthen said. “We have fabulous talent here that comes and devotes their time for free for our outdoor entertainment, as well as many local vendors that also come and support us. We’re grateful for everyone that helps and participates and makes this a great event for Moapa Valley every year.”