Smyth County

Hungry Mother festival brings one vendor back year after year

Hungry Mother Festival

MARION, VA. - It's a 40-year tradition that has brought vendors like Ken Curtiss to the Hungry Mother Festival.

"Always in my life I've appreciated art. I grew up in the bay area of San Francisco with the great museums," said Curtiss.

He's been coming to the festival for more than 35 years, selling his own artistic handmade figurines.

It's a hobby that he says he didn't mean to start. "I started making lab equipment for a company in California in 1974," said Curtiss. "I worked there about five years and learned everything I could about the glass business. I went back to college, studied art and put the two together."

Now, 40 years later, you might consider him an old pro when he gets behind the flame. "I like making trees. When I make a tree I have a general idea of what it should look like, but I let the glass flow into its own design," said Curtiss.

As Curtiss heats up the glass, it becomes a magnet for anyone walking by. "It shows anyone in a small community the different arts that can be found across the country," said Candy Whitt, 2013 Festival Chairperson.

It gives others the opportunity to see how things are made. "It teaches children the different things you can do that you may never have thought of. People actually make a living at this," said Whitt.

105 vendors are attending this year's festival and 15,000 people are expected to show up.

If you would like more information on the Hungry Mother Festival, click here.

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