Saturday, February 11, 2012

"Running of the Gourds" at Wuertz Farm's Annual Gourd Festival

This was my first gourd festival at Wuertz Farm in Casa Grande, Arizona, and even though I mostly sat and stood with the gourds rather than run, I enjoyed this fun and quirky show. Much like gourd people, the show was down to earth and a little kooky!

The festival was held at the Pinal County Fairgrounds and is about 10 miles from the city of Casa Grande. Lots of agriculture and cows and although it was sunny and pleasant during the day, the early mornings and evenings were rather cold. We camped right next to the event in our trusty pop-up trailer, "Melvin."

The festival started on Friday and became very crowded. Almost half of my gourds went off to new places. One piece in particular, Gourd Circus, was a little tough to let go of, but the new owners assured me it was going to a good home.

As I walked around the show I saw some familiar faces from the Welburn Gourd Festival like JC Nan and his wife from New Mexico who make Apache inspired dolls and ornaments. I also met Kristin Johnson and her husband from Kansas. She does intricate burning, or pyrography, and is also an art teacher like myself so we had a very nice chat. I was surprised to see a few vendors from Alabama. One couple from Lacey Springs, Alabama, hand trains gourds while they are growing to make knots and twists.

One of the nice things about the festival was the musical entertainment. We camped right next to a family that plays Bluegrass music. Thursday evening they were outside practicing and the music was so nice and calming after such an exhausting day of traveling, setting up camp, and setting up for the show.

This family band is called Just 4 Mama. Really fun and happy music and a super nice family to boot!

I met Tony Redhouse and caught his inspiring and peaceful show. I just happened to take my break and heard him talking about letting go of expectations and that's exactly what I needed to hear because, for me, Saturday's sales slowed down to a pace of molasses on crutches. (Don't feel bad for me--Friday and Sunday made up for it!)

Even though it was quite an effort to get it all together and get out of the house, I'm glad I came! It was interesting talkin' gourd with other vendors and the folks who wandered into my space were very kind and supportive. I met many a snow bird, some locals, and a few that were being introduced to gourds for the first time.

It was also very enjoyable having quiet dinners with my husband (my roadie) and just getting out of the normal routine of daily life. Back at home my girls were enjoying some freedom and spending time with their grandma so everyone was a winner!

As we packed up and started to head home, I was finally able to relax and enjoy the Saguaro-spotted landscape. We stopped at Silly Al's Pizza in Quartzsite and had the best veggie pizza and were able to catch the last ten minutes of the Superbowl.

Thank you Wuertz Farm for a worthwhile and unique experience!