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Arts & Entertainment Array of potters set for WNC Pottery Fest, Nov. 3

The eighth annual Western North Carolina Pottery Festival will feature demonstrations by master potters and displays of their work on Saturday, Nov. 3, in Dillsboro.The eighth annual Western North Carolina Pottery Festival takes place Nov. 3, attracting an impressive lineup of master potters to Dillsboro.

This year's festival once again features 45 potters, each selected from a juried pool that included more than 80 applicants. They hail from North Carolina and 12 other states, including featured potters Tony and Mindy Winchester of Iowa.

"The show now attracts more and more national potters who showcase unique wares," said festival organizer Joe Frank McKee of Tree House Pottery in Dillsboro. "Overall, we strive to provide traditional pottery values with a touch of contemporary flair."

The main portion of the festival is Saturday, with potters demonstrating non-stop from their booths along Front Street. All festival attendees receive a free ticket for a daylong raffle, while a silent auction benefits a local charity that provides meals to needy families.

Another Saturday highlight is the opening of the wood-fired kiln at 2 p.m.

Festival activities actually get under way on Friday from 1-5 p.m. with the fourth annual WNC Clay Olympics competition.

A field of 20 festival potters square off in contests to see who can make the largest cylinder and widest bowl, along with a two-minute blind-folded competition. Stone Mountain Clay and Glaze of Tucker, Ga., will be on hand Friday selling clay and glaze products.

Folks will also get to see this year's featured potters in action. Tony Winchester is a high-energy artist who will be throwing pots all day, while Mindy Winchester takes his works and skillfully paints them with horses and landscapes.

"Tony is a workhorse and a ball of energy," McKee said. "He is amazing. He's the most creative potter I've ever seen on the wheel."

Saturday's festival hours are 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., rain or shine. Admission is $3 per person, with children under the age of 12 admitted free.

"Festival attendees not only get to buy incredible works of art, they're surrounded by the fall foliage of the Great Smoky Mountains," McKee added.

For festival info, call (828) 631-5100, or visit: www.wncpotteryfestival.com. For lodging info, call the Jackson County Visitors Center at (800) 962-1911.

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