For the second year now, the Neosho Arts Council will host a 10-day celebration in honor of grape-growing legend Hermann Jaeger, the local man once credited with saving the French wine industry.
The 10-day event, kicking off April 26 and running through May 5, will feature art, music, wine and food.
John Mills, president of the Neosho Arts Council, said the idea for the event was sparked when researchers from Missouri State University created an exhibit about Jaeger and his work with local grapes.
"He pretty well made this part of the world famous back in the mid-late 1800s," Mills said. "We just think it's an important part of our history, and interesting that grape vines from Newton County saved the world's wine industry, yet there aren't any commercially grown vineyards in Newton County."
Jaeger is credited with saving the wine industry in the 1870s, particularly in Europe, after an outbreak of phylloxera (a grape vine louse) nearly devastated vineyards' crops. Jaeger's grape cuttings, which were resistant to phylloxera, were sent overseas, helping to save the European wine industry.
The Neosho Arts Council created their own Jaeger exhibit, which will be on display at the Neosho Civic Center each day of the festival from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. This is free and open to the public.
"I think everybody's really pleased with it," Mills said of the exhibit. "There's nine panels that talk about the Jaeger story and then there's five that talk about the history of wine and wine making. So it's really informative, a colorful exhibit, and we look forward to putting it up again."
The Civic will also be home to the "Picnic in the Civic" event, held by the Neosho Area Chamber of Commerce, and scheduled for 7 p.m. Friday, April 26.
They will be showing the movie "The Lorax". Attendees are invited to bring their blankets to the free event. A concession stand will be provided by Neosho Bright Futures and the evening is sponsored by Silhouette Imaging.
The next day, Saturday, April 27, nationally recognized plein-air painter Jason Sacran, of Fayetteville, Ark., will be offering a one-day workshop for area artists. Tuition for the workshop is $125, and the workshop will last from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. To reserve a spot in the workshop contact Mills at 592-0427.
"He also on Monday night (April 29) will do a nocturnal demo on the square that's open to the public if they want to come watch him paint," Mills said. "He does some really neat stuff at night with the lighting from the street lights, signs, and interior lights that come on through the windows."
Also on Saturday, April 27, the Neosho Arts Council will host a food and wine pairing dinner at the Neosho Civic Center. The evening is sponsored by the Missouri Wine and Grape Board, and begins at 6:30 p.m. with hors d'oeuvres, followed by dinner and dessert. Café Angelica is providing the food.
Page 2 of 3 - Each course will be paired with a Missouri wine.
"The wines are award-winning Missouri wines," Mills noted.
Tickets are $50 per person. The deadline to purchase tickets is Tuesday, April 23 and those interested in doing so should contact Tammy at 451-1040.
On Sunday, April 28, the three-day "en plein air" painting competition will kick off. The "Paint Neosho" competition is open to all area artists, who will paint any location in Newton County that they choose, using oil, acrylic, watercolor or pastel.
"It can be any subject, any place in Newton County," Mills said.
The entry fee is $40 and canvases must be stamped prior to beginning work. Artists can check in between 7:30 – 9 a.m. Sunday at the Civic.
Mills said up to $1,500 in cash prizes will be offered and awards will be announced during the 8 p.m.
intermission of Crowder College's Evening of Jazz on Tuesday, April 30 at the Civic.
"We had eight artists last year, I think we had 14 paintings entered," Mills said. "We're hoping to expand upon that this year."
Artists who cannot be there Sunday to check in should contact Mills.
On Thursday, May 2, area residents will have the chance to learn a little more about Jaeger's work, when Dr. Laszlo Kovacs, a biology professor at Missouri State University, gives a presentation at the Neosho Center for Seniors, 1017 Carl Sweeney Parkway.
He is scheduled to speak at 12:15 p.m.
On Friday, May 3 and Saturday, May 4, the annual ArtSquared Art Show and Sale will be held at the Civic. The event runs from 4 to 7 p.m. Friday evening and will include wine tastings by the Ozark Mountain Wine Trail member wineries. The event continues Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Artists interested in reserving booth space should contact Mills.
The Jaeger Festival will also include an event for Neosho's youngest artists, as the third annual Boulevard Bank Sidewalk Chalk Art contest is slated for Saturday May 4.
The creative youngsters will have the opportunity to demonstrate their talents from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. A total of $1,000 in cash awards will be offered in three age groups. Entry is free for children ages six to 15 years old, while those 16 and older must pay a $10 entry fee. A complimentary set of pastel chalks will be provided to each participant.
Also on Saturday, May 4, and new to the Jaeger Festival is the first ever "Jaegerfest 2013" live music celebration.
The show will feature local classic rock band Walrus, who will perform at the Neosho Civic Center at 7 p.m. Entry is $5.
The annual Jaeger celebration will wrap up on Sunday, May 5 with the "Wine in the Garden" event, set from 5 to 7 p.m.
The event is hosted by Master Gardener Rick Callis and Sue Ludiker at 608 Oakridge Drive in Neosho. Tickets are $25 per person, must be purchased in advance and can also be purchased by contacting Tammy at 451-1040.
Page 3 of 3 - "We'd like for people to take advantage of this opportunity to learn about Hermann Jaeger and the work that he did," Mills said of the 10-day festival.
For more information, visit the Neosho Arts Council's website at www.neoshoarts.org, or contact Mills at email@example.com or at 592- 0427.