Rummaging through a pumpkin patch to find the perfect candidate for a Jack-o’-lantern and going to a haunted corn maze to give yourself recurring nightmares for the rest of the year are both fall musts.
But a new fall event will soon be added to Flagstaff and Williams locals’ fall to-do list: The Williams ARTober Fest.
Event organizers thought that Williams, located along historic Route 66 at the entry to the Grand Canyon, was missing one thing: Artisan events. This weekend, that will no longer be true.
Owner and CEO of Magic Birds Festivals Roberta Rechlin describes ARTober Fest as, “…an eclectic and intimate collection of artisan exhibits that will include fine art sculpture and paintings, select handcrafted jewelry designs, home and garden decor, fine kitchen cutlery, health and beauty products and gourmet packaged edibles.”
This newfound happening is the latest project by Magic Bird Festivals, an Arizona-based company known for putting on events focused on art, culture and community such as the Art of Chocolate A'fair in Gilbert and NATIVE: A Festival of Tribal & Arizona Arts & Entertainers in Fountain Hills.
Rechlin has been committed to putting on events revolving around art and culture in Arizona for roughly 30 years. She puts together countless festivities statewide annually but is turning to Williams as the landscape for one of her ensembles this year for the first time.
Both Rechlin and assistant events facilitator Lia Abati accredit this spark of inspiration to their acquaintances, as they have been hearing about the charm of Williams from a number of their regular exhibitors for years.
“We wanted to create a northern Arizona signature festival and all indicators were pointing us to Williams,” says Rechlin. “It was kismet.”
Equally drawn to communal events and the panorama of northern Arizona is the Flagstaff-based band Mother Road Trio.
“We live in the best place in America,” says Mother Road Trio harmonicist and vocalist, Sam McRae. “Playing at the place we call home is always something we love to do.”
Set to perform on Saturday and Sunday, the group has a set ready to allure people of all ages. The American-style band mixes sounds of gypsy blues, rock ‘n’ roll and a little bit of everything else.
“We play music for youngsters to old folks and everyone in between. It’s so fun because everyone seems to like our sound,” adds McRae.
The internationally-known ensemble gets its name straight from Route 66 itself. McRae pointed out, for those who do not know, that Route 66 is historically referenced as “the mother road that takes people across America.” To complement their name and the location of ARTober Fest, the band will perform their popular spin on the 1946 classic, “Get Your Kicks on Route 66.”
Aside from the trio, there will be endless sources of entertainment at the Williams event. Amongst these will be solo acoustic performances by John Carpino, Darius Lux and Kerry-Lynn Moede.
The Glitter Line Dance Troupe of Flagstaff will also make an appearance on Sunday to mesh music and dance together while teaching festivalgoers how to shimmy to the rhythm of the beats.
For those who are more about visual appeal there will be displays of sculptures, paintings and hand-crafted jewelry.
Rechlin emphasized the appearance of the award-winning local sculptor, Tom Williams, who owns the Twisted Horn Forge.
“Tom is our Featured Fine Artist [and] will be showcasing his most recent towering creations ideal for inside or outside the home,” says Rechlin. “He will be showing alongside his wife, Kris Williams, who has put together a collection of art and artists from the Williams Alliance for the Arts.”
The festival is bringing creators of all mediums to present the best of local artistry and join people of all interests together for one weekend.
In predicting the event’s success, Rechlin notes, “We are confident that our inaugural Williams, Arizona, ARTober Fest will grow into a bountiful fall event for years to come!”
ARTober Fest will take place from 10 a.m.-5 p.m., Friday through Sunday, Oct.13-15, at the Williams Visitor Center on historic Route 66, 200 W. Railroad Ave. Admission is free. Visit www.carefreeazfestivals.com and click on Williams events for a full schedule of events.