After 10 days of art, wine, and events the Neosho Arts Council's second annual Herman Jaeger Festival wraps up today, with a wine in the garden event scheduled for 5 p.m.

After 10 days of art, wine, and events the Neosho Arts Council's second annual Herman Jaeger Festival wraps up today, with a wine in the garden event scheduled for 5 p.m.

John Mills, president of the Neosho Arts Council, said despite the impact of the cold, wet weather on the later part of the festival, overall the more than a week's worth of events have been a success.

"We certainly had a plan for more participation but we're tickled with those who did participate," Mills said.
On Saturday, several area artists displayed their work in the Neosho Civic, as part of the festival's ArtSquared Spring Art Show and Sale.

The show featured works from 15 different artists, and included, pastels, water colors, oils, acrylics, ceramics, photography, and jewelry.

"The weather, I'm sure, has affected attendance, both the public and artists, so we didn't have quite as many show up as we hoped but the artists we have brought some really great art," Mills said.

Among those displaying their work on Saturday was Jennie Lynn, whose ceramic works were on display along with those of her classmates from Crowder College's ceramics class.

"I use doilies to press into clay to make a pattern, and then do the coloring, glaze them and fire them," Lynn explained. "I hand crochet all the doilies I use except for the little, more intricate ones."

Lynn, of Stella, said this is her first semester working with the ceramic creations she had on display at the show.

Due to weather, some of the 10-day festival's events were canceled or postponed, including the Boulevard Bank Sidewalk Chalk Art Contest, which has been postponed for the fall festival in October.

Still, Mills said while the unseasonable weather kept some people at home during the last few days of the event, events scheduled earlier in the festival drew good attendance.

The "Paint Neosho" plein air painting competition, held Sunday, April 28, through Tuesday, April 30, saw a spike in participation this year, with 35 paintings submitted by eight artists.

"The weather was beautiful for the paint out, and that's why I think we had so many entries," Mills said. "In fact, the judge (artist Jason Sacran) was pleasantly surprised at the quality of artwork."

Mills said the Neosho Arts Council awarded $1,500 in prizes to the group of competition winners.

The festival's events also included a nocturnal painting demonstration, performed by Sacran on Monday, April 29, on the Neosho Square, a food and wine pairing dinner, a wine tasting, and the Jaegerfest Concert, held Saturday evening at the Neosho Civic, featuring the band Walrus.

The festival also included two activities directly related to the man the festival is named for, Newton County's famous grape grower Herman Jaeger.

The Neosho Arts Council's Herman Jaeger exhibit, which includes information on Jaeger's history and grape growing, was on display at the Civic each day of the festival.

Laszlo Kovacs, Missouri State University professor of biology, also spoke twice on Thursday regarding the importance of wild Ozark grapes.

Mills said educating local residents on the impact Jaeger's work had is the purpose of the annual festival.
"The story about Herman Jaeger needs to be told," Mills said. "A lot of people over the world know about Herman Jaeger, but I've found that a lot of people in this region haven't heard the story. That's really the special emphasis of the Jaeger event. To entice people to come and learn that story we combined these other activities."

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, grown just east of Neosho, were resistant to phylloxera, and were sent overseas, helping to save the European wine industry.
Mills said he hopes there will be a third annual Herman Jaeger Festival.

"The discussions and the critiques will move forward from here and we'll see if we can figure out how to fine-tune it to make it better," Mills said. "Certainly we urge all area organizations to come up with their own activities that could be headlined during the festival and get more people out."