The annual ArtsRevive StreetFest attracted  hundreds of art lovers — and  those who love a good catfish  meal — to Selma’s downtown  Saturday.   The annual Billy  Atchison Fish Fry helped  to raise money for  Crime Stoppers. --Ashley Johnson
Vendors set up at the end of Water Avenue, in front of the Carneal ArtsRevive building, and displayed numerous crafts as residents and visitors walked by. -- Ashley Johnson

Annual StreetFest draws hundreds downtown

Published 6:32pm Monday, May 20, 2013

Those who attended the ArtsRevive StreetFest Alabama Symphony Orchestra performance got to hear a special and unexpected addition Saturday.

It sounded like distant artillery firing as booms rolled up off of the Alabama River into the courtyard of the ArtsRevive Carneal building orchestra’s performance. Thankfully, it was just a summer storm inching in, but the thunder added a special effect to a performance themed on the Civil War.

Bobby Horton, with his banjo in hand, led the orchestra with anecdotes about the life of a soldier in the Civil War, and they performed songs like, “Home Sweet Home.”

Horton narrated a letter from a soldier to his sweetheart, and many songs about Dixie including “The Rose of Alabama” and “The Tombigbee River.”

“I absolutely love coming to Selma because this is a town so rich in history,” Horton said, who is one of the leading experts today in music from the Civil War. “Imagine the soldiers from Selma and what they must have felt like when they heard music like this. They had probably only ever heard instruments like banjos, fiddles and maybe a piano and a pipe organ in some of the churches.”

Fran Pearce, co-chairman for ArtsRevive StreetFest said she was thrilled with the amount of seats sold for the concert, more than 90 of the 100 set aside.

“We were very pleased with the seats we sold, but we are going to go back and tweak this and see if we can make it even better next year,” Pearce said.

Pearce noted the 35 juried artists who came to the festival, really put a spotlight on StreetFest in the arts community and said she was pleased with the quality of the artists.

Most of the artists were from surrounding areas potted herbs, oil paintings, jewelry, pottery and more.

Toni Hart from Prattville came to StreetFest to sell and show her prized gourds, which she has artistically transformed into pots, vases and general décor.

“They say once you get started in gourds its just takes over your soul,” Hart said and explained that no two gourds are alike and they all tell a story — a story Hart uses to shape them into something new and artistic. She paints bright colors of Native American symbols and attaches antlers, horsehair or even buffalo teeth — all authentic.

Hart said, though StreetFest was only her second show, she enjoyed meeting everyone and telling Selmians about her work.

The aim of StreetFest is to provide the community with a day of arts and activities while fellowshipping with neighbors. Pearce said she loves to see the community come together. But the community also came together for a charitable cause — The Billy Atchison Memorial Fish Fry.

Tommy Atchison, son of the late Billy Atchision said his father would have loved to just see his name on the banner above the tent for the fish fry.

Atchison said his dad would also be happy to know how much money was raised for Crime Stoppers — something Billy worked hard to help bring to Selma.

The fish fry raised close to $3,000 by selling almost 500 plates.

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