The Matthews Alive Festival has become a tradition for many families. It draws crowds of people hungry for finger-licking bbq, a large variety of indigenous and international foods, many rides and fun activities, and a multitude of arts-and-crafts booths.
This festival is a venue for local nonprofit-organizations to raise funds for their groups. It is managed by a non-profit board of volunteers who work all year to make it happen. And what a great job they do!
This year was no exception. It was held between August 31 and September 2, in the well-known downtown Matthews.
The food trucks brought delicious and diverse mouth-watering foods. From Lebanese Cuisine to Japanese Soba Noodles to Latino tacos and salads, it was a circle around the globe and back, merely to be drawn-in by the smoky-smell of the BBQ on the grill.
Although the sun was blazing-hot, with all that food, there was energy in the air moving young, and young-at heart, to the games, rides and the live-music stage. Also available, and with great enthusiasm, were the small business tents like Atlas Chiropractic & Wellness, Friendly Dental, Reaching Solutions. Alongside, the bigger organizations with locations nearby as Allen Tate- Connie Massetti- Broker/Realtor and her office- with winning games and boards, Wells Fargo’s carriage, Novant Health, and more. Others took the stage located in front of the Community Center.
The Amazing Artists and Crafters were well represented at this event. “The Bee-Line” brought the most amazing, wild-flowers and sourwood raw honey (unheated).The certified beekeepers Ralph and Billie Patton worked together to bring a healthy, sustainable natural product, and explained the difference between commercial-found honey and farm-crafted ( to order call: 864-710-5359).
“Plottware Pottery” was awarded best pottery at the festival. Artist Cory Plott “brings utilitarian décor to your home, offering a crisp addition for all interiors.” He explained “I approach pottery in such a way that pays homage to traditional methods while creating contemporary vessels of stylized design (www.facebook.com/Plott-Ware-Pottery).
Unexpected sweets were offered by “Bermuda Jamsations” –endless fruitful combinations of natural, fresh ingredients in jams, jellies and sweet-and-savory salsas. “Our Mom’s Best” brought delicious Sweet Pepper Relish, Berry w/o the laze Pepper Jelly, for a sweet but mild side (no heat); Roasted Garlic Pepper Pesto and Apple Cranberry Hot Pepper Jelly –for a sweet moderate heat, and Sweet Health Mustard, Berry Blaze and Hot Pepper Relish for those people looking for hot and wild (www.our momabest.com). Another tasty surprise was the “Bacon Jams” the perfect add-on to burgers, roasted vegetables, appetizers, sandwiches, and finally spreadable bacon (thebaconjams.com)!
“A taste for Life” brought from Spain wonderful crafted olive oils and vinegars, great on salads, meats or my favorite, pita-bread. Kevin Connors, the owner, delighted my taste-buds with samples and explained the difference and best use of his treasured creations. He noticed a 28% increase in sales, applauding the festival, and the customers for their interest in quality, crafted products (www.ataste.net).
Ayla Bradshaw, the owner of “Spicing and Dicin” had a truck-load of interested, to say the least, spices from all over the world, blended to perfectly touch and enrich any food you may prepare (spicinanddicin.com).
One crafter who amazed me with his humble-creations dedicated to the most fascinating bird, the humming bird, was Mr. Ray. Well-traveled, he is a renowned artist whose work is dedicated to support the life of one of the smallest birds on the planet.
“For the Birds By Ray” is kaleidoscopes of colored-glass intertwined with wood and metal to produce the most eye-pleasing bird-feeder I have ever seen. It is not known the impression on a bird’s mind, but I can tell the effect of these pieces on someone’s yard. The sun-caching glass reflects colors, relaxing busy minds and provides enjoyment to the eyes and surroundings.
There were many outstanding artists and products crafted with love, soul, and dedication; I noticed the interesting materials used for some home decorations, the innovative body-care products, and traditional hand-made, sewn or crocheted hats, toys, and aprons.
The indoor Art Gallery brought refreshing cool-air and a change of scenery to a mellow but distinctive world of painting. Watercolor and oils were displayed and people voted for their favorites (Matthews Art Guild-in McDowell Art Center). Also indoors, in the community center, were the Woodworkers, Basket Show, Piedmont Fiber Guild, and the Jazz Jam.
Matthews Alive is a festival to look forward to every year. It is a learning, family-fun, relaxing experience that people of all generations can enjoy. Just mark your calendar for next year.