Dogwood Arts Festival, Market Square Art Fair, Part 2

Market Square Art Fair 2012, Knoxville

Most of the day Saturday I enjoyed the Market Square Art Fair, allowing time to take a bit of a nap back at the house somewhere in the middle of the day. I’m certain the volunteers and workers had to be exhausted because it completely ran me down just hanging out with those hard-working people. And there was plenty to get worked up about. It was sometimes difficult to know which activities were official and which sprang up in the vicinity simply to take advantage of the huge buzz and foot traffic.

Ice Block Prepared for Sculpting

I saw the block of ice prepared for carving at the beginning of the day and intended to get back to see the finished product, but I didn’t make it back within the hour. I walked from the Market Square Stage to the East Tennessee History Center to find the schedule for the Shakespeare activities which Urban Woman and I wound up catching later in the day.

UT Students Raise Money For Habitat for Humanity

UT Students Raise Money For Habitat for Humanity

Daylight Building

Jack Neely at Union Avenue Books

I found the UT Retail Student Association hosting a pop-up boutique in the former Regions Bank building to benefit Habitat for Humanity. The Daylight Building was awash in foot traffic with Re-runs drawing a crowd of shoppers, a book signing in front of Union Avenue Books and Just Ripe was packed all day long. Union Avenue Books later had a talk by Jack Neely about the changing perceptions of Knoxville through the years based on his recent article in Metropulse.

A Group of Buskers and Dancers on the Square

Dancing Children

Young jazz musicians

Music floated throughout the area both officially, from the stage, and with various buskers playing singly or in groups. I never grow tired of watching children dance, displaying simple and pure joy. A junior jazz band played on the stage and it was promising to see high school students with a knowledge and appreciation of jazz.

Gators in Town for Baseball (Gators 2-1)

Young man gets his portrait drawn

Beautiful ladies examine the plants

People watching is generally good downtown on a slow day, but when the crowd is this large, you know you’ll see some interesting people. I’m more willing to ask for a photograph than I used to be and I find that almost everyone I ask (I can remember the three exceptions in the last two years) is happy for me to take their picture. I hope  some of them later spot their image on the blog.

Beautiful Woodwork

Frog on a Fish

Crowd Favorite Rowing Frog

I really had my first opportunity to slow down a bit and admire the woodwork, glass and other arts and crafts. It may not be high art, but you have to smile when you see spam can stringed instruments. The whimsical metal whirligigs were a big hit on the Gay Street side of Krutch Park. The one pictured here with the rowing frog had a group of admirers all weekend, though at $495 it hadn’t sold the last time I checked.

Market Square Art Fair 2012

Market Square Art Fair 2012

Glass work at the Market Square Art Fair 2012

Who could have guessed the Culinary Arts Tent would be my favorite thing all weekend? With its gorgeous tents, lighting, stone, appliances and formal table cloths it looked like a movie set.  I’ve never watched five minutes of a cooking show that I can remember and I’ve never had any ambition to actually cook anything beyond eggs and grits, so why did I spend hours in that tent? I’m not sure.

Culinary Arts Tent

Tupelo Honey Chef Brian Sonoskus

The deal was that it was all free unless you wanted the wine pairing provided for each dish by Robert Mondavi wines, in which case you had to fork over $2.00 for a wrist band you could use all day. Tupelo Honey chef Brian Sonoskus was first up and prepared “New Pimento Cheese.” I don’t like pimento cheese, so I only ate two servings of his.

Heather Grubb makes Yogurt Lemon Cake

Later, Heather Grubb, owner of Cake of Knoxville and previously on TLC’s “Next Great Baker,” which people in the audience seemed to know all about. She made a lemon yogurt cake which was appropriately paired. She helped me realize why I found myself so captivated by this event – besides the great food and wine. It was the passion that she and each of the other chefs bring to what they do. I find it very inspiring to be in the presence of people who are sharing what they truly love.

Earnest Students Study Their Wine

Wine from Robert Mondavi

The wine tasting included five different wines from Robert Mondavi and great details about wine-making in general and his wines in particular. Samples were provided of a Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. It was all good, but I heard the most raves about the Pinot.

Chef Joseph Lowery and Karen from Avanti Savoia

The day ended with Avanti Savoia’s Chef Joseph Lowery and his sous chef Karen preparing Radiatore Pasta con Salsa Fresca. I loved talking to Joseph who introduced himself and told me about some of the stops along the way in his career. He was twice a personal chef, lived and worked as a chef in a number of major cities before retiring to farm in north Knox County. Then he got a call that lead to his current job which mostly involves teaching cooking classes at Avanti Savoia which is primarily a company which focuses on online sales of high quality food products. By this point in the day I had Urban Woman in tow and we both liked his dish so much we stopped at the Avanti Savoia booth to buy ingredients and she made the dish for Sunday dinner.

Pineapple Ice Sculpture

As we walked from the tent I noticed an ice sculpture of a pineapple and realized my day ended where it started. Pretty perfectly.



  1. I kind of wish that the culinary arts tent was made a permanent fixture…you’re right, it was so beautiful!

    • KnoxvilleUrbanGuy says

      You want it to be year-round permanent? 🙂 That would be cool, but surely they are planning on making it a feature every year in the future. I can’t imagine that they wouldn’t.

  2. Just an FYI … the ice sculpture was the “vase” which held a group of dogwood blooms originally carved by one of the chefs. It started melting and became a precarious situation, so the top was removed before it fell … It was really beautiful when it was completed and before the heat got to it. Chefs Tom Oerttman and DeRon Little were the carvers.

    • KnoxvilleUrbanGuy says

      Thanks for the FYI. I always appreciate small corrections and re-directions. I wish I had seen it when it was freshly finished.

  3. Passed the Florida bus parked behind the Crown Plaza on the way in Friday, and wondered if you would be able to resist mentioning them winning the series! 😉
    Looks like everyone had a good time! Hard to believe the transitions that occur down here over the weekends.

    • KnoxvilleUrbanGuy says

      I wish I’d seen the bus. I also felt a little guilty not going to the games, though I thought I was simply informative about the outcome! 🙂 I’m a journalist, Mr. T., and the people have a right to know. I also am shocked at how quickly things can change over and how many events can happen simultaneously (just wait til this coming weekend!).

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