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Arts & Crafts festival benefits outreach organization

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Karen King (left) and volunteer Hope Whittmer inside the food pantry kitchen at the Hickory Nut Gorge Outreach Center off Memorial Highway in Lake Lure. - Jean Gordon photo

The Hickory Nut Gorge Outreach (HNGO) is hosting the annual Spring Arts and Crafts Festival this weekend on the property located across from the Lake Lure beach.

The crafts and arts festival will be open from 10 a.m. until 6 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday and until 4 p.m. on Monday.

The festival is a way for Artisans and Crafters to come to Lake Lure and sell their handmade products to visitors who come to the area during the holiday weekend.

Fine arts/graphics, photography, jewelry, glass/pottery, wood, textiles and leather will be among arts and crafts on display and for sale.

There will be plenty of food vendors on location including Leisa's Kettle Corn, Kola Kole Ice, Scoop Ice Cream, The Nut House, Upstate Concessions, Watts Sauce, Nectar of the Vine, Nothing Bundt Cakes and many more.

The HNGO is a non-profit organization providing food pantry and outreach services to families in the Hickory Nut Gorge Community.

The organization is solely funded through donations, fundraisers, food drives and grants.

"The outreach center directly benefits from the festival," said Karen King, HNGO operations manager.

More than 90 vendors are presenting homemade wares, arts, crafts and festival food during the first spring arts festival in two years due to COVID-19.

Vendor spaces filled up quickly as artisans were eager to get back to Lake Lure for Memorial Day weekend.

The Outreach Programs include: food pantry, food for children, school supplies drive; Holiday Programs, families in need and scholarship programs.

An average of 76 families are served each month through the outreach programs; an average of 289 individuals are served each month. Eight percent of those served are seniors ages 65 and above.

The organization, located on Memorial Highway, can always use financial support, low sugar cereal, single serve oatmeal, canned fruit, Chunky soup, cooking oil, sugar, flour, pasta, rice, paper towels, toilet paper, tissues, toiletries, cleaning supplies.

During the 2021-22 school year, 115 children received backpacks with school supplies for the school year and 30 children received weekend backpacks of food during the 2021-22 school year.

Clients with extraordinary needs receive financial assistance for expenses like medication, gas, utilities and rent/mortgage payment.

All Outreach programs and activities are fully supported by more than 40 volunteers. In 2021, volunteers worked more than 5,000 hours to help meet the needs of the community.

For assistance, to volunteer or to makes donations, call 828-625-4683, email: hngoutreach@gmil.com or visit www.hickorynutgorgeoutreach.org

Three Day Festival on the following dates:

* Saturday, May 28 --10am - 6pm

* Sunday, May 29 -- 10am - 6pm

* Monday, May 30 -- 10am - 4pm

WHERE: Lake Lure Town Center, across from

Lake Lure Beach entrance.

COST: Free.

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