Mesquite Art Festival Takes Over Fredericksburg, Texas

The Mesquite Art Festival has become one of the top events in Fredericksburg.

Unusual mesquite wood yields a rugged cross.

Unusual mesquite wood yields a rugged cross.

iStockphoto.com/Nautilus Shell Studios

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For the 17th year, the Texas Mesquite Association Art Festival finds a home in Fredericksburg, Texas. This year’s event opens its doors October 9-11.

Juried artists from around Texas will gather in Fredericksburg's Marktplatz for a three-day celebration of the exquisite and attractive mesquite.

"Besides seeing the absolute best selection of mesquite, visitors will enjoy the largest mesquite show in the world," show organizer Al Carr says.

The festival, like mesquite wood itself, has come a long way since the first event in 1992. Fourteen mesquite woodworkers gathered then for a seminar. According to Carr, they weren't the only ones showing interest in mesquite.

"So many local people dropped in to see what we were doing and to try to buy our work, we realized Fredericksburg was the best place on earth to have a Mesquite Art Festival," Carr says.

The Mesquite Art Festival has become one of the top events in Fredericksburg. Organizers expect more than 10,000 visitors during the weekend. Visitors will be treated to collections of sculpted wood from the world's finest mesquite craftsmen. Items range from large furniture items such as beds, dressers and chairs made entirely from mesquite, to unique craft and gift items such as beautifully turned lamps, delicate scroll work, handsome pen and pencil sets, unique Christmas tree ornaments, sturdy gun stocks, and sculpted vases, all carefully crafted of mesquite.

Once viewed as a nuisance, mesquite has become the darling of architects and retailers. Mesquite's growing appeal comes in part from the high profile offered by the Texas Mesquite Association and this festival, Carr says. Articles praising mesquite's quality and value have appeared in such magazines as Texas Highways, Veranda and Fine Woodworking.

"Architects now vie to install mesquite accents in upscale homes," Carr says. Mantles, doors, flooring, art items, dining sets, tables and other furniture are increasingly requested in mesquite. Prices for raw wood as well as finished pieces have soared.

The festival also includes exhibits of winners of a high school woodworking contest sponsored by the association.

"We want students to receive recognition for their work in wood," Carr says. "We feel that putting something back into the education system will ensure students receive a good background in wood for many years to come."

The Texas Mesquite Association Art Festival is free and open to the public. Hours are Friday noon to 6 p.m.; Saturday 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.; and Sunday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Items are available for purchase, with food and drink sold on the grounds. Free parking surrounds the exhibit area in downtown Fredericksburg.

For more information on the Mesquite Art Festival and the Texas Mesquite Association, visit the website or call 830-997-8515.