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The Lead Oct. 10, 2022: We are in countdown for Kerrville Chalk Festival; Welcome Home Festival shines

It was another busy weekend around Kerr County, and we're prepping for another big one.

Good morning, Kerr County!

By this time next week, we will be halfway through October with little to no rainfall in the forecast. How bad is the drought? Well, that's to be determined by the National Weather Service. However, there's a very slim chance of rain on Saturday night — about 20%. The good news is that the Kerrville Chalk Festival forecast is pleasant — highs in the mid-80s. Our forecast for the week is mild and sunny.

On today's The Lead Live!

We will get a sneak peek about the plans for a new Kerrville restaurant — 5D Steakhouse will be on the show. 5D owner Brianne Dlugosch will update us on the plans for her latest restaurant. The big steakhouse is right along Interstate 10 on Sidney Baker Street. Joining Dlugosh will be Jo-Leah Wallace, a corporate director, who assists with recruiting employees for the restaurant. Yes, that means they're hiring! Dlugosch has a fascinating entrepreneurial backstory instilled by her family, and we'll dig into that journey at 9 a.m.

It's Chalk Festival Week!

Kerrville City Hall's Peterson Plaza transforms into a temporary outdoor gallery of art as the sidewalks transform into colorful street paintings. Many artists enjoy interacting with people attending the Kerrville Chalk Festival, and others prefer to work uninterrupted as onlookers observe their progress. The completion of extensive and detailed chalk art may take the entire weekend.

The festival kicks off at 10 a.m. on Saturday and runs until 5 p.m. The festival concludes on Sunday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

This year there will be a large 7×14 foot patriotic-themed street painting created by Kelly Faltemayer and Russ Gobel, of Houston, TX. Other guest artists will be Ever Galvez, and Jennifer Ripassa, and Lysa Ashley all from Los Angeles, Calif.; Jessi Queen and Zach Herdon, both from Atlanta, Ga.; Joel Yau, of San Francisco, Calif.; Henry Darnell and Carrie Dziabczenko both from Dallas; Kayla Kilmartin of Corpus Christi; Julie Mangum of Llano; Tish Miller of Kerrville as well as Hung Pham and Marcos Hernandez from Houston.

Local professional artists Marty Garcia, Vivian Gray, Aurora Joleen, Vicki Keese, Stephanie Keller, and Liz Painter are also participating this year. Groups from Peterson Middle School, Tivy High School, Ingram Tom Moore High School, Our Lady of the Hills College Prep, The Hunt School, Fredericksburg High School and the Hill Country Youth Ranch will all be chalking squares.

There is no admission charge and the festival will have many free activities for children, free guided tours of the adjacent Schreiner Mansion, and six established food truck vendors. The Kerr Arts and Cultural Center is the 2022 recipient of the festival's donations.

The bucket truck ride electrifies Kerrville

The line snaked back deep into the shade of the Louise Hays Park pavilion, and the wait was worth it. The Kerrville Public Utility Board's annual bucket truck event drew its biggest crowd.

A celebration of Public Power Week, KPUB had plenty to celebrate over the last year after the challenges facing the city-owned utility. In turn, the utility sent a crew of seven to Florida to help put that state's power grid back together after Hurricane Ian.

Trey Owen had just returned from his deployment to New Symerna Beach, Fla., in time to demonstrate arc and spark — an electric-charged display that stops people with its noise and light.

However, Owen said he'd never seen anything like the damage Ian wrought on Florida.

"I've never seen that much water," said Owen, who previously worked hurricanes in Florida and Texas.

On Saturday, Owen was grateful to be home with friends and family. And that sense of family was what KPUB worked to display, with plenty of exhibits, giveaways and the ever-popular bucket truck rides. They were so popular that people waited in line for an hour — a third bucket truck might be in order for next year.

Welcome Home makes sweet music at Quiet Valley Ranch

Konrad Wert, who plays under the name Possessed by Paul James, turned in a scorching performance on Sunday night at the Welcome Home Festival.

With a full moon, a cool breeze and a night-time temperature of about 75 degrees, just about everything was perfect Sunday night at Quiet Valley Ranch for the first Welcome Home Festival.

The only challenge was some smallish crowds. Born from last year's shift of the Kerrville Folk Festival from May to October, thanks to the coronavirus pandemic, the festival's organizers took positive feedback from that show to form something new — a nine-day showcase of roots, Western Swing, folk, Americana and a lot of good music.

"How can you order up better weather than this?" asked Kerrville Folk Festival Executive Director Mary Muse. "The people that are here are absolutely loving it."

Wert is known for his stomping.

Muse would be the first to admit she was hoping for a few more, but those who showed up or camped over the first weekend weren't disappointed. Kerrville's Konrad Wert, who performs under the name Possessed by Paul James, electrified the audience with a 45-minute set on Sunday.

Wert's folksy approach featured plenty of references to all things Kerr County, including Schreiner University and a raft of others. But his message wasn't lost on the appreciative crowd at the Threadgill Theater.

The biggest difference between the 18-day Spring event is the intimate Threadgill Theater versus the larger outdoor stage, and there are other differences, but Muse thinks the future is potentially significant.

"I'm delighted that we are presenting what we are," Muse said.

Keeping the drought at bay

Drought expert Peter Van Dyck was one of the featured speakers Saturday at Riverside Nature Center's "Every Drop Counts" event.

The Riverside Nature Center's Becky Etzler insisted that the Guadalupe River-focused venue had to pivot this year from an annual plant sale to one that brought a deeper appreciation for the Hill Country's most significant asset — water.

What resulted on Saturday was the first "Every Drop Counts" event at the Riverside Nature Center — a one-stop shop for all information on drought resiliency. Across the center's grounds, various groups presented how to best combat drought, from water-harvesting practices to the best plants to survive some of the driest conditions in years.

"We weren't sure how it would work out with all the events in Kerrville," Etzler said. "I think the folks that are here are very engaged. They are eager to learn water conservation tips. I think we're serving our purpose."

Etzler gained support from a key ally — Upper Guadalupe River Authority General Manager Tara Bushnoe, who answered questions and gave out tools to help keep the river clean.

"We are seeing families coming through and I've had great conversations with folks about the river, about the drought and about rainwater harvesting," Bushnoe said.

Those attending had plenty of resources to sample from, not only UGRA but from Texas Master Naturalists and Texas Native Plants. For those wanting to complete a deep dive into water resources education, Etzler brought in guest speakers, including Peter Van Dyck, an expert in drought-proofing landscaping.

Van Dyck maintains a resource-rich blog about some of the best practices in managing drought in the Texas ecosystem. He focuses on ranches and remediation techniques for land overrun by cedar and other plants.

"We advocate for soil and water conservation," Van Dyck said. "That includes getting green plants growing and harvesting stormwater on the ground to soak it in."

A carnival costume party just for fun

Stephanie Hodges and Keisha Hulsey hosted a carnival-themed party — just because.

When you climb the stairs of the historic Turtle Creek Olives and Vines in downtown Kerrville, you know you're heading to something special, but Stephanie Hodges and Keisha Hulsey had something extra planned for the space on Saturday night.

See, in Kerr County, we're all used to going to events — there's a lot of them. Most of the time, events come with an ask from a nonprofit group, but on this night, the only ask was fun.

"It's really been confusing," said a delighted Hulsey.

The confusion was that there was no ask, just come in costume and enjoy yourself in the historic space that was once Kerrville's Masonic Lodge. It was an early Halloween delight called "Carnevil."

Hulsey and Hodges are members of the Turtle Creek Olives and Vines wine club, giving them access to the gorgeously restored upstairs portion of the Earl Garrett Street stone building. So, they selectively invited people, papered some cars with flyers and told folks to pass the word along about their costumed soiree.

It worked, and about 50 showed up in various forms of attire, including a fast-moving Kerrville Big Foot. But the generous fun led by Hodges and Hulsey included giveaways, wine and raffles. It was all in the name of a good time.

The Kerrville Big Foot made a brief appearance at the Carnevil party on Saturday night.

Hill Country Arts Foundation makes it big announcements for 2023

The Hill Country Arts Foundation Executive Director Sarah Derousseau pulls the cover off the 2023 season.

The Hill Country Arts Foundation announced its 2023 season offerings on Sunday, and fun is the underlying theme.

Hill Country Arts Foundation Executive Director Sarah Derousseau and Rosanne Thrall, who leads the visual arts program, announced a lineup with eight live performances, including five comedies. Of course, the signature event remains the Texas Arts and Crafts Fair — set for Sept. 23-24.

The other big news, which was in the planning stages for months, is the addition of a new ceramics studio — housed in a former restaurant space. The new space will give ceramics enthusiasts more room to throw clay on wheels or slabs.

June Rye and Hayden Magnell can't contain their excitement for the announcement that HCAF will present the musical "Newsies" in June.

But one of the biggest announcements was that of the summer children's musical. With two potential cast members in the audience — June Rye and Hayden Magnell — Disney's Newsies will be performed in the Point Theatre June 9-24. There was giddy approval from Rye and Magnell.

The theatrical lineup:

  • Run For Your Wife, Feb. 3-19.
  • On Golden Pond, March 17-April 2
  • The Gods of Comedy, April 21-May 7
  • Newsies, June 9-24
  • The Last Roundup of the Guacamole Queens, July 14-29
  • The 39 Steps, Aug. 18-Sept. 3
  • Frankenstein, Oct. 13-29
  • A Christmas Carol, Nov. 25-Dec. 17

The visual lineup:

  • Juried Exhibition, Jan. 13-Feb. 10
  • Form and Function, sculpture and pottery, Feb. 17-March 17.
  • Spring Bling, fiber and jewelry show, March 24-April 21.
  • Of the Earth, metal and wood, May 12-June 23
  • Summer Art Mart, June 30-July 28
  • HCAF Member's Show, Aug. 11-Sept. 15
  • Alternatives JCP/Atelier Show, Oct. 6-Nov. 3
  • Christmas Art Market, Nov. 10-Dec. 16



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