Arts & Culture

Beloved Local Arts Tradition hosts Multiple Events Across Chatham

19th Annual ClydeFEST Goes Wild

If you know Chatham County, you know Clyde-FEST, the Chatham Arts Council’s annual family-friendly, old-school kids’ carnival celebrating folk artist Clyde Jones, known locally as the “critter artist.” With a pandemic still looming, this year’s festival will look a little different – in fact – it will be W I L D! The Chatham Arts Council (CAC) is taking the ClydeFEST spirit out and about in Chatham County in COVID-safe ways to create ClydeFEST in the Wild – a modified version of this 19-year-old beloved tradition.

“Kids need art!” pronounced Cheryl Chamblee, Chatham Arts Council’s Executive Director. “We’ve never brought ClydeFEST or our teaching artists out into Chatham’s neighborhoods like this before—but with our commitment to service, solace, and hope through the arts this year, it seems like the best, most impactful, most joyful choice.”

This year’s event aims to do just that, with ClydeFEST outposts positioned throughout Chatham County on multiple days this spring. In addition to providing artistic opportunities for kids of all ages, ClydeFEST in the Wild will also host cherished performers generating music that will bring participants to their feet, dancing along amongst the critters.

ClydeFEST in the Wild Details

The first event is on Tuesday, April 20. Then on Saturday, April 24 at The Park at Briar Chapel, 9:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m. families and kids will have the opportunity to schedule outdoor time at our mobile Critterville to paint and embellish one of those well-known and beloved critter cut-outs, while jamming to some family-friendly live music from ClydeFEST performers.

Tuesday, April 27, 4-6:30 p.m.: Chatham Artists-in-Schools artist Diali Cissokho and ClydeFEST roving performers will travel through the Briar Chapel and Nature Trail Community neighborhoods in eastern Chatham sharing their arts magic. (Sponsored by The Jester Group at Baird.)

Saturday, May 1 at Bray Park, 10 a.m.-2 p.m.: We’ll hand out Critter Kits (a critter cut-out, plus paint and glue) at Chatham County Partnership for Children’s drive-through Day of the Book/Dia de los Libros celebration. Families can grab a kit and adorn their critter cut-out at home.

Sunday, May 2 at Southwest District Park, 1-5 p.m.: One more ClydeFEST in the Wild celebration takes place, but this time, in southwestern Chatham! Families and kids can schedule outdoor critter-paintin’ time and hear some ClydeFEST tunes during this Sunday afternoon event.  

“ClydeFEST is more than just a tangible event; it’s an experience and a feeling,” expressed Emma Hobbs, a high school student who has been attending ClydeFEST since she was in pre-school. “No matter where you are, nothing can take that away from you.”

Sign-Up to Paint

Kids of all ages LOVE to get messy in Critterville, where they can adorn their wooden critter cut-outs. With this year’s mobile Critterville, they’ll be able to make unique pieces of art from paint, glue, and loads of glitter – bringing these critters to life right before their very eyes. ClydeFEST in the Wild is free to all participants; however, due to COVID-19, participants need to sign-up to reserve a spot to paint a critter, ensuring safety in small groups.

· April 24, visit

· May 2, visit

For more information on ClydeFEST in the Wild, visit