The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

October 24, 2013

Hilltop Arts Festival: Elkmont plays host to 2nd annual event Nov. 2

By Lora Scripps

— It’s Hilltop Arts Festival time again — a time when thousands are drawn to the quaint town of Elkmont for a day of celebrating the arts.

Started last year, Hilltop Arts Festival’s inauguration had a gamut of art booths from blacksmithing and woodworking to pottery, photography and fine arts. Add that alongside a mix of live music and what happened was an early November event — free to the public — that drew more than 2,000 attendees.

“There was a great outpouring of support and so many requests were made to make it an annual event that plans were made to host another festival this year,” Hilltop Arts Society founder Preston Pylant said.

Pylant knows Elkmont might seem like an odd place for an arts group to put on a successful festival. “But it happened,” he said. “Not only did it happen last year, but with a little luck and a ton of behind the scenes work it will happen again this Nov. 2.”

Pylant said this year looks to be another success. “There is already quite a lineup of local artists and crafters,” he said. “The musical lineup features some of the top tier talent of the area including young singing sensations, Bonner Black, Mary Justice Lucas and Matt Morrow as well as regionally recognized names such as Amy McCarley and Ingrid Marie.”

Hilltop Arts Festival is free and takes place from 9 a.m. until 6 p.m. Nov. 2 in downtown Elkmont. Leashed pets are welcome.

Proceeds raised from booth fees will go towards a scholarship fund for an Elkmont student interested in pursuing a degree in the arts. The scholarship, known as the Pinkerton Award, is based on a student’s effort and desire to pursue the arts, not grade point average. The Pinkerton Award is named for a former Elkmont student who tragically died in a car wreck shortly after graduating high school. Pylant described Neil Pinkerton as an extraordinary young man that excelled in marching band and on the theater stage. “He had so much potential and that potential is part of the scholarship,” Pylant said. “Many students have the abilities to be great in their artistic pursuits, but are often hampered by grades or standardized testing that keeps them from achieving the standards for an academic scholarship.”

Hilltop Arts Society had made it their goal is to introduce students of Elkmont High School to the arts as well as encourage students in their artistic pursuits.

Raising funds

In addition to this year’s festival, Hilltop Arts Society is also holding a benefit to raise money for new books for the Elmont High School library. The event, slated to start at 7 p.m. the day of the fesitival at the Red Caboose, will feature music from The Pyles. “The Pyles are a new and exciting band from Muscle Shoals,” Pylant said, adding they are grateful for the opportunity to help the library. Tickets to the fundraiser are $10 and are available at the Elkmont library or town hall. Tickets are $15 the day of the festival.