ClydeFest To Go 2020 on for April 25

by " target="_blank" rel="noreferrer noopener">April Starling

Bynum, NC – The Chatham Arts Council’s 18th annual ClydeFEST, an old-school kids’ arts carnival celebrating folk artist Clyde Jones, is taking a creative spin this year to keep the community safe amid COVID-19. ClydeFEST-to-Go, sponsored by The Jester Group at Baird, will take the place of this year’s event – bringing a little fun to the community in a social-distance way, while still celebrating the “critter artist,” Clyde Jones, and his creative works of folk art.

Clyde Jones (photo by Stephan Meyers)

The Chatham Arts Council will be placing critter cut-outs (with a few art supplies) at two locations in the county, which are due to remain open: Chatham Marketplace (Pittsboro) and Oasis Market (Siler City). Community members are encouraged to pick up their critter on their essential weekly grocery runs (April 18-25) and embellish it with paint, markers, glitter – anything to make a unique piece of art. The virtual event will culminate on April 25 when participants post photos of their critters via social media under the #ClydeFestToGo.

“Social distancing is the best thing we can do right now, and in this circumstance of being ‘alone together,’ creative expression can be hugely helpful for kids and their grown-ups,” explained Cheryl Chamblee, Executive Director of the Chatham Arts Council. “ClydeFEST-to-Go allows us to bring the spirit of ClydeFEST to Chatham families in a unique way, but also, in a manner that will continue to keep our community safe.”

Even though the physical event had to be cancelled this year, generous community sponsors came to the rescue to ensure the spirit could live on via ClydeFEST-to-Go. Chatham Arts Council is grateful to the local businesses who are supporting the arts, including generous sponsorships by The Jester Group at Baird; Opus Financial Advisors; Hobbs Architects; R.E. and E.F. Crane Foundation; Dorrie Casey and Archie Purcell; Selbe Bartlett & Mike Dasher, in Memory of Carol Bartlett; Persimmon Hill Neighbors; Chatham Park; Monteith Construction; Sanford Contractors Inc.; Cackalacky; Resolute Building Company; Cheek Electric; Kindred Gallery at the Rosemary House; Deep River Mercantile; Chatham Homes Realty; The Modern Life Deli & Drinks; Robena, Phil, and Twyla Olinger; Fiddlehead Farm; Pittsboro Roadhouse; Seven Year Productions; Katy McReynolds/Chatham Homes Realty; Granite State Electric LLC; Dr. Tammy R. Severt, D.D.S., P.A; Primrose School of Chapel Hill at Briar Chapel; First Bank; Lesley Landis Designs; gh designs; Carolina Brewery; B & J Custom Printers; Blueline Contracting; the Chatham Marketplace; Oasis Market; and the North Carolina Arts Council.

“We are so fortunate to be part of a community that cares so deeply about the arts that they are willing to help us get a virtual event off the ground,” said Taylor Hobbs, Chatham Arts Council Board President. “Our hope is that ClydeFEST-to-Go will bring a little cheer during a time of global uncertainty.”

What is Folk Art?

There is not one specific definition of folk art – there are many! Folk art is something that is handmade with found objects, usually with bright bold colors. It is often created by self-taught artists, who tend to be somewhat isolated form their communities. Folk art is a way to reflect the artist’s culture. For ClydeFEST-to-Go, creating folk art critters provides young artists a way to think outside the paint and markers box to create a really unique piece of art – a ClydeFEST-to-Go critter.

Get Your Hands on a Critter!

ClydeFEST-to-Go critter cut-outs will be available for pick-up (April 18-25) as community members go out on essential weekly grocery runs at: Chatham Marketplace (480 Hillsboro Street/Pittsboro; open 10 am – 7 pm) and Oasis Market (117 South Chatham Avenue/Siler City). Please check their websites to determine current hours of operation as COVID-19 could alter each market’s hours. For those who can’t get their hands on a critter cut-out, downloadable critters are also available on the Chatham Arts Council website! These beloved critters can be embellished and shared, in the same way the cut-outs will be.

photo by CAC staff

Show Your ClydeFEST Pride with your Freshly Painted Critter on April 25

Don’t keep all that hard work to yourself! After participants have anointed their critters (cut-out or paper versions) with the appropriate amount of brightly colored decorations, the Chatham Arts Council is encouraging them to post a picture via Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram: #ClydeFestToGo. The virtual event will spread far and wide, sharing the spirit of ClydeFEST with all those who consider the event a family tradition.


The Chatham Arts Council nurtures creative thinkers in Chatham County. We do this in two ways: we invest in artists and we educate kids through the arts. In its thirty-seventh year as a nonprofit arts agency, Chatham Arts Council’s flagship programs include Meet This Artist, Go See This, Grassroots Arts Grants, and the Chatham Artists-in-Schools Initiative – serving more than 3,500 children this year. Chatham Arts Council is proud to partner with the NC Arts Council, the Durham Arts Council, Chatham County Schools, and numerous Chatham arts organizations, human resource nonprofits, and local businesses. For more information, visit