Food, art mix for atmosphere that guarantees return trips for many

Michael Holahan/Staff
A man looks at colorful paintings at the Rita's Authentic Batik Art booth at the Arts in the Heart of Augusta festival. The yearly festival concludes today.

After a rainy start to the Arts in the Heart of Augusta festival Friday, hundreds came out in Saturday's warm weather to see what the festival had to offer.

"I usually volunteer, but I also come to enjoy the shows and the food," said Quincy Zhong, of Augusta. "I always like coming out."

Crowds gathered as local and regional groups performed on the festival's four stages, showcasing singing, dancing, acting, poetry recitations and other talents.

Others were drawn to the Augusta Common to try foods from India, the Caribbean, the Philippines, Ireland and other countries.

"The food looks great, and the music sounds good. I'm really enjoying it," said Mark Osborne, who moved with his family from Dallas to Augusta in April.

Artwork on display included paintings, photography, pottery and jewelry.

"I have always heard it was a good festival to come to, so I decided to come out this year," said first-year vendor Ahmad Qadri, from Commerce, Ga.

"I'm enjoying it. I'll come back next year, no doubt," the ceramic artist said.

For Debi Dwyer from Fleetwood, N.C., it's that kind of experience that turns new vendors into regulars at the festival.

"It's a nice atmosphere, and the people are really nice," said the second-year vendor. "That's why we came back."

The festival resumes today at noon.

Reach Nikasha Dicks at (706) 823-3336 or nikasha.dicks@augustachronicle.com.

FESTIVITIES CONTINUE

When: Noon to 7 p.m.

Where: Augusta Common and surrounding areas

Cost: $5, children 10 and younger admitted for free

SEE THE PHOTOS

Find out if you were Spotted Friday or Saturday at any of the Arts in the Hearts festivities by logging on to spotted.augusta.com