Monday, February 26

The Crestone Eagle is a nonprofit monthly newspaper serving Crestone and the San Luis Valley

Saguache festivals offer flowers, fine art, & fairy houses

By Ameille Warner

Saguache’s 14th Annual Arts Walk, combined with the 12th Annual Hollyhock Festival and Fairy House Walk, will happen on July 29 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. in the town of Saguache.

This is the third year the Hollyhock Festival and Arts Walk will be combined, which has been well received in the community as an opportunity to showcase the beauty and creativity of the town. The event is planned every year on the last Saturday in July and encourages visitors to enjoy many artistic vendors on the grounds of the Saguache County Courthouse, as well as to stroll through town to tour hollyhock gardens and look for charming fairy houses hidden throughout the community.

There will be live music, a food truck, and creative activities for children and families. Saguache Sagebrush Quilters will be holding a drawing for two quilts — one at the event and a second one to be given away at the Fall Festival & Quilt Show on September 16.

Arts Walk

This event began as a studio tour through the roughly half dozen art galleries in town. Founders Byron Williams, Kelsey Hauck, Roger and Marilyn Fenton, and Judith Page wanted to draw attention to the talents of local artisans and promote them to residents and visitors.

This year, a wide variety of art will be on display and for sale, including works in glass, metal, wood, resin castings, and ceramics, as well as paintings, jewelry, and fiber art. “The Saguache Arts Walk also plays a vital role in supporting and promoting the local arts scene by providing artists with a platform to showcase their work and foster their creative growth,” states committee member Carita Ginn.

The festival is particularly proud to encourage the next generation of artists, like 14-year-old Saguache resident Elicia Abeyta. Elicia makes artwork from pouring paint and resin, and she hopes to be able to support herself through her art in the future. Elicia admits that artmaking can have its ups and downs, but she encourages other young people that are passionate about it to keep pursuing it.

Hollyhocks

Saguache residents Byron Williams and Greg Terrell were integral in starting the festival and saw it as a way to celebrate hollyhocks, the official town flower, and instill pride in the yards of the town with prizes for both hollyhock and non-hollyhock gardens. At the inaugural event, Williams came dressed as “Johnny Hollyhock” and the six-foot Terrell came clad as a gnome. There were even fairies present, including Mary Morfitt and Mary Engquist.

Hollyhocks were favored by early settlers to the area who began planting them in the late 1800s. They are drought tolerant, easily propagated, and a good friend to pollinators. Seeds and starter plants will be available for sale at the event. Many people are surprised to learn that the entire hollyhock is edible, including the root, leaves, and blossoms. The flower can be added to salads, as well as used to make a cold tea infusion to relieve sore throats and aid in respiratory, urinary, and gastrointestinal troubles. Young leaves are similar in use to spinach and can be eaten raw or cooked. The roots have been used medicinally in many cultures for inflammation and ulcers.

Fairy Houses

You’ll need to look closely to find all 30 of these whimsical, miniature habitats hidden throughout the town. Each one is unique, and hand crafted by artist Sarah Krantz, who uses mostly recycled materials to create a wide variety of settings and styles. Krantz says she started making them “to give visitors to Saguache something fun to do. Adults seem to enjoy them as much as the children do!” This year, children will have the opportunity to create their own fairy house to take home.

The event is free and is funded through a Saguache County Sales Tax Grant and grants from the Town of Saguache and the Saguache County Tourism Council.

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