New World Festival of the Arts a Manteo Delight

David Graves plays one of his spiral flutes at the Manteo New World Festival of the Arts.
David Graves plays one of his spiral flutes at the Manteo New World Festival of the Arts.
The Origins of the New World Festival

Back in 1981, Edward Green, who owned the Christmas Shop in Manteo, was looking for a way to bring people to the town during the summer. By that time people had discovered the Outer Banks and were flocking to the beaches, but it didn’t seem as though all that many would drive over the causeway.

Over the years, he had gotten to know a lot of artists and crafters up and down the East Coast. So he came up with the idea of an outdoor arts festival along the Manteo waterfront.

Thirty-six years later the New World Festival of the Arts is still going strong.

Edward, who is approaching the century mark, turned the festival over to the Dare County Arts Council five years ago. When they took it on, they didn’t miss a beat.

What Was on Display

Wednesday and Thursday were the festival days this year and the range of art and creativity that was on display was wonderful

David Graves was back again from Florida with his Native American style flutes. Hand-crafted from reeds native to his home state, each flute is distinctive in sound and appearance.

James Melvin was on hand as well. Melvin does the illustrations for Suzanne Tate’s Nature Series books, but that only represents a small part of his talent. His beach and Outer Banks paintings are remarkable in the how well the depict the feel of being on the beach.

There were over 70 exhibitors on hand this year, and trying to see everything was a bit overwhelming, which is what the organizers hoped for—that the show would have something for everyone and a little bit extra as well.

The weather for the event was close to ideal this year. The mornings did start a bit still and muggy, but by the afternoon, there was a nice breeze off Roanoke Sound and the temperatures were warm but not too bad.

The festival always occurs during the third week in August. Plan on checking it out next year.

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