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Makers Fair, Railroad Fest returns

April 12, 2018

STARLA GATSON

Editor-in-Chief | sjg021@latech.edu

 

The Makers Fair included over 100 vendors, and patrons were offered a variety of products, including honey, hand carved wood and bonsai trees. – Photo by Ashley Kober

 

The first weekend of April brought not only an unexpected cold front to the area, but also a celebration of North Louisiana’s finest makers and musicians with the second annual Railroad Makers and Music Festival.

 

The event, held April 7, kicked off at 10 a.m. in Ruston’s historic downtown district with the Makers Fair featuring over 100 makers and artists, including Jennings Apiaries, Imperfect Dust and Rosalynne Love.

 

Joshua Mitchell, Railroad Festival’s founder, said the event was started to provide musicians and artists an avenue for expression.

 

“There’s not in this area a big platform for different artists to express themselves and bring their work to a bigger scale,” he said. “So what this event is trying to do is bring it to a larger audience and spread the word throughout North Louisiana of what’s going on in Ruston.”

 

He said the event benefits not only the makers and musicians, but also its attendees by allowing them to see the passion each artist has for his work.

 

“A lot of these artists and musicians are people that have been doing this for a long time and they really want to do this long term,” he said. “These artists here in smaller cities don’t have that avenue to bring it to a large scale and show what they do to everyone. I think it shows people that North Louisiana has a lot to offer as far as the arts go.”

 

In addition to the Makers Fair, the festival also included concerts in Railroad Park.

 

Performers included Corey Henry and the Treme Funktet, Dauzat St. Marie, Rella, The Good Paper of Reverend Robert Mortimer, The Golddust Mannequins and Caleb Elliott.

 

Mat Dauzat of Los Angeles-based duo Dauzat St. Marie said performing at the festival was a full-circle moment for them.

 

“Heather and I played our first show together as a duo when we were just kids at a coffee shop right across the street from Railroad Park,” he said. “We may be ‘Dauzat St. Marie from Los Angeles, California’ everywhere else in the world, but we are ‘Heather and Mat from Ruston’ when we are home. Now having played on the Railroad Park stage for the first time at Railroad Festival, we feel more connected to the Ruston community than ever.”

 

Ruston resident Nadine Johnston  said she believes events like the Railroad Festival are important because they allow members of the community to fellowship with one another.

 

“I think it offers us the opportunity to come together and interact with other people in the community that you normally wouldn’t have had the opportunity to see,” she said.

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