A different kind of Pumpkin Patch: Hot Glass Festival to run Oct. 19-20

By BETH BUNCH,

When this year’s Hot Glass Fall Festival blows around, festivalgoers will get to enjoy an extra day of fun and fall. Jeremy Thomley of Hattiesburg, a sculptor, glass blower and owner of Mohawk Steel and Glass, has extended the festival to two days this year, Saturday, Oct. 19, and Sunday, Oct. 20. The festival will run each day from 4-9 p.m. on the grounds of his family’s Christmas tree farm at 50 Hegwood Drive in west Hattiesburg.

“We decided to make the event two days this year and are hoping for twice the fun,” Thomley said. He also

wants local residents to experience nature the way he has.

“We had have never had a fall festival here at the farm until three years ago,” he said. “This is our 53rd year of having the Christmas tree farm. The farm is most beautiful in October and November. And nothing welcomes in the fall weather like making blown glass pumpkins.”

The festival, now in its fourth year, will be filled with art and music. The sculpture studio and gift shop will be having an open house and Thomley will debut a new Glass Gallery where pieces of his work will be on display and for sale. The gallery will feature hand-blown glass pumpkins, as well as blown glass platters, flowers, cups, paper-weights, mushrooms, bowls, vases, and yes, lots of ornaments.

There will glass blowing demonstrations, live music, an opportunity to feed the animals on the farm as well as kids games and games for the family.

During the evening, a haunted hayride begins at dark. Tickets are $3. A bonfire will also be lit once daylight falls.

Food items will also be for sale.

Thomley said the festival was planned to reach out to locals who might be interested in learning glass blowing.

“When we’re trying to get our lessons and our schedule lined up to come and blow glass, hopefully, we pack our days tight so that we can have people coming and enjoying it and having that experience,” he said. “They can go out there and look at the trees or talk to the animals. They can have a full day at the farm outside being engaged and doing something, not just looking for Pokemon or playing Nintendo all day. We’ve got real things to do; you don’t have to look in a computer to find things to do. Out here, we’ve got horses and turkeys and animals and dogs, and each other.”

Thomley said Hattiesburg is a hotbed for art.

“In south Mississippi, most people can agree that food is the most celebrated art form that we have,” he said. “People will wait in line at a restaurant for two hours or an hour, but will they wait or will they plan to blow glass? They’ll do it for a movie. They have had great success for film here. I really believe that Hattiesburg is hungry and growing for a creative experience. The creative economy in this little town is exploding. Everybody from the city to private enterprise and all these other people are showing that they do appreciate fine art. That leads to a fine little well-run business. They appreciate the finer things and they will support it.”

The event is free and open to the public.

The tree farm is located at 50 Hegwood, Hattiesburg.

For more information, visit Hot Glass Fall Festival on Facebook.

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