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Wednesday, April 24, 2024

Only at Mamaw Menagerie can $5 make your heart content.

As the clouds began to cover the sun and its rays began to lose their heat, those with dreadlocks, nose piercings, dirty sneakers, Natural Lights and calf tattoos began their journey to The Kickstand to attend 'Mamaw Menagerie'- the coolest little arts and crafts mini-festival around.

Within minutes, my dollar bills were transformed into a homemade bottle-cap pin; a skull and bones necklace; a piece of some amazing carrot, coconut and cranberry loaf; a ginger brownie; a neon painting of an elderly person's walker; and a one-minute massage.

On Saturday, almost 20 local vendors and more than 350 students, artists, craftsmen and musicians came out to barter jewelry, paintings, baked goods, scarves and ties, records turned into flower pots, decorated beer pong tables, henna tattoos and more at a hippie-inspired art fest.

The Eighth Avenue Bike and Coffee Shop provided iced coffee, toneVENDOR advertised online records, Flying Heart Jewelry showcased its homemade pieces and George's Meet and Produce displayed its woodwork.

"It's a festival for everyone. The elderly can come look for trinkets, and parents can spend time with their children…but right now we get a lot of college students drunk from earlier activities, stumbling in who want to see a show and listen to music," said local artist and event organizer Thomas Callihan.

Mamaw Menagerie also offered a great selection of local music. This year's artists included Ancient River, the Ex-Boogeymen, Travis Atria of Morningbell, Baby Rat, DJ Thomas and DJ Ernie.

One notable performance was the harmonious folk rock synthesized sounds of Michael Parrallax, who despite the 90 degree heat, chanted his songs in a fur bodysuit before a crowd of lip-synching mosh-pitters.

The next and final Mamaw Menagerie will be held before Thanksgiving break. Callihan will then be leaving for Brooklyn, NY, to pursue his artistic career.

According to Callihan, anyone is open to continue the Mamaw Menagerie tradition once he's gone.

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