A Festival LivePublished 6:54am Thursday, May 9, 2013
Her number one goal throughout her service has been to keep quality, unique and original art as the Festival priority. “There are so many fine arts and artisans trying to make a living from their product that I wanted to see this goal continue. I was willing to work on continuing this tradition. I believed in these ideas and goals that Ruth and Bud Abbot had originally started at the onset of the Festival.” Teresa also noted her support from her husband, Mike. “I would never have been able to do this or continue on this journey without his support. He was a great sounding board and his advice continued to be valuable throughout the years even if we didn’t always agree!”
One of the biggest challenges and continued changes faced by Teresa and the Festival Board were safety issues of running such a large festival. The Phelps Mill Country Board has grown with the Festival to meet the safety concerns and have worked together in having a risk management plan in action and ready to use. Brause notes that one of strongest changes has been no change. When The Phelps Mill Festival started the standards, ideas, and mission statement were all in place. It has been a challenge throughout the years but they have continued to review these standards and mission statement and have stuck with those ideals. Because of this, Phelps Mill Festival remains one of the premier family events in the upper Midwest and continues to be a favorite among many of the exhibitors.
There are so many memories Teresa has from her years of running the Festival. “I can’t single one out.” She stated that each memory is a treasure from meeting new exhibitors and entertainers to dignitaries from other countries to meeting neighbors down the road. Each experience is special. Over the years, Teresa’s children have been a large part of the Festival network. “I’m so proud of the experiences they have had as part of this project. They’ve helped anywhere I needed them without disappearing. This didn’t always happen at home. The Festival has played a big part of our lives and given each of us special memories.”
Her favorite part of the Festival was meeting new people each year “It was awesome to see so many people having a great time and knowing I have been a part of this event. It amazes me the quality of artist and artisans that come to the Festival. They bring a tremendous amount of talent and creativity to our area in one special weekend.”
The most difficult part of being director is notifying those artists that have not been accepted into the Festival. In order to continue with the quality standards set in the jury process, not everyone can be accepted no matter who they may know.
Teresa’s hope for the future of the Festival? “To see the Phelps Mill Festival continue with the same good family standards as it started. The Festival has many loyal and committed people involved in seeing that the Festival succeeds. May there always be something new, fun, creative, and learning in the art world and continued good food each year.”
“I feel so insignificant when people introduce me as manager of the Phelps Mill Festival as if it is such a big thing. All I can think of is the loyalty of the volunteers, clubs, and people that make this event what it is. I don’t feel that I should have credit when so many are working so hard to make this a success.”
Teresa’s plans include . . . not having any responsibility for a while. She and her family are looking forward to some free time in the summer. Teresa loves to garden and is looking forward to more of that and some quality time with grandson, Connor.
The Phelps Mill Country Board approved the hiring of Ken Martin as new festival director with a recommendation from Teresa Brause. Ken has been a part of the Festival in a number of capacities over the last several years and has become well-known with the vendors in the Festival. Ken also grew up in the art community as his mother was a long-time exhibitor at this show. Teresa will continue working with Ken throughout this year’s event.
The tradition will continue under Kens’ direction. You’ll see a number of returning artists this year along with a number of new vendors with limits in each category, making it the same well-balanced show it has been in the past. You’ll continue to find a number of nonprofits providing a wide variety of ethnic and American foods throughout both days in 2013. This festival has become a large fundraiser for many of these nonprofits. Entertainment will also continue with the same high quality standards. This year’s entertainment includes James Wedgewood, comic ventriloquist; the Boundary Water Boys; and 57 Chevy Band. A worship service will also continue as part of the Sunday morning tradition. Children’s activities are also a large part of the Festival which is also handled by an area nonprofit. Turtle races are a hit with the younger crowd which continues to be a tradition every Sunday of the Festival. There are a number of volunteers that provide and will continue to provide service to the festival from parking cars and shuttling festival goers to festival host and hostesses and everywhere in between. The festival would not be possible without these volunteers. There are also a number of sponsors that contribute to the event through products, services and/or monetary donations.
For more information and schedules go to the web-site: PhelpsMillFestival.com.
by Val Martin