April In Edom Art & Wine Experience: Clowns, Art, Music and Much More
The weekend of April 27-28, 2019, the community of Edom celebrated April in Edom. The Edom Chamber of Commerce usually organizes the event. This year, a little twist of fate made it a little more of a community effort.
April in Edom had been an Edom Chamber of Commerce event for 14 years. This year however, they decided not to go forth with the event. According to Don Hendrickson, Vice President of the Edom Chamber of Commerce, “They didn’t make enough money to take on this event any longer.” When Kelli Holmes heard the news, she quickly got the community together and organized one of the best events of the year. People lined the streets in awe of the many different arrays of art, music, and clowns. Even though this was not the Chambers event, Hendrickson said, “the chamber appreciates the community coming together and making the event a success.”
Kelli Holmes was one of the biggest attributes of the event. She had this to say: “We are absolutely thrilled! We know that the Tyler Newspaper article affected the attendance, but we are very proud of our event, that we only had two months to pull off. It could not have been possible without our small army of dedicated friends!”
The Experience, a must-see new business by Kelli Holmes, is located in the building that used to be the bakery in downtown Edom; the one that musician Sheri Booth owned. Sheri Booth, along with many other musicians, performed at different times, along the businesses. Sheri Booth and Waylon Dryden amped up the festivities with their unique style, and impressive impression of “Can’t You See.”
Formulating the Plan
Kelli Holmes went on to say, “We had a contract pending at the Experience building, which we affectionately call “The Red Onion”, and thought that we could utilize the beautiful space for the festival. The Chamber did not have the budget for the event and we knew how badly the community loves it. It’s also one of the biggest sales days of the year, and the shop owners obviously benefit from the increase in foot traffic. We decided to launch our new business with the festival…..hence the word ‘Experience’ in the name: April In Edom Art & Wine Experience!”
“Since it wasn’t an Edom Chamber of Commerce event, we didn’t have the luxury of an account full of money. We started with a zero-budget. As we filled booth space and received donations, we earmarked funds. Expenses like, event insurance, port-a-potties/dumpster, musical acts, strolling street entertainment, sound/staging, t-shirts, etc. With generous offers of manpower, donations and sponsorships, we were able to pull it all off. We lived and breathed AIE Art & Wine Experience for two whole months.”
Kelli has a vision for Edom’s Historic Art District and her new venture will open many different opportunities for the area. Saturday and Sunday at the Experience she offered food from BrouHaHa catered by Michael Smith. The smoked brisket hash was amazing. Michael Smith outdid himself and kept the many people present fed and satisfied. Yoga was offered as well and Thi Yoga demonstrated by Paula Widma was available at Edom’s Art Emporium.
It Takes A Community
Kelli had a team of volunteers that helped her with this awesome endeavor. Among them were Craig and Jan Blackmon, Eliot Burk, Alyssa Espinoza, JoAnn Swain, David Carley, Chad Massey, John Harwood, and an assortment of wonderful teenagers from Van High School.
Kelli wanted to comment on what was reported in the Tyler paper and how it had affected the event. “After it was announced and reported several times that it was canceled, I personally called, visited and invited 100’s of vendors. We hand-delivered home-printed “posters”, took advantage of social media and I painted over old banners in order to afford bigger and better entertainment. We decided to forgo golf carts, fancy & pricey brochures/posters, expensive stages and lighting by having the restaurants and other businesses host music and demos on their property. This offered more diversity and kept the patrons moving around town.”
Kelli invited vendors like Wilson’s BBQ, who won first place at the Grand Saline Spring Festival for their awesome BBQ. Wilson’s was not serving barbecue at this event. Instead, he was grilling corn on the cob, and it was delicious.
How did Kelli provide such great entertainment and art?
“We designed a frugal budget and stuck to it. I love entertaining and hosting parties. I often said ‘We’re just throwing a soirée for 4,000 of our closest friends.’……and we did! We continued to stay focused on our motto: Community-Creativity-Culture……which We hope increased commerce!”
The musicians who performed for the weekend were: Steve Fuqua, Sharon Walker and Garden Valley Revue, Jenni Mansfield Pearl, Mike Freiley, Elfin Paige, Stan Johnson, Michael Morse, Dennis & Leslie Rodman, Robin Willis, Jopi Drew, Jay Dyesenberg, Robb Lindsay, Colton Higgins, and the 9:05 group. Saturday night Blue Louie put on the after show. Many vendors and visitors sat down and listened to this unbelievable band.
With this momentum, next year’s event will surely be even better. Clearly, the show will go on.
Photos By Amandi Goldman
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