Thomasville, Georgia’s Plantation Wildlife Arts Festival (PWAF) turns 20 this year, and the festival promises to be a weeklong celebration (November 13-22), that calls for cocktail dresses and cowboy boots, bourbon bars and bird dog sculptures, and global sporting artists. Thomasville has long been a destination for wildlife artists, who have journeyed to the area’s plantations to practice their craft since the 1800’s, especially because the city’s proximity to the Sunshine State makes for lovely November weather. Event proceeds benefit Thomasville Center for the Arts, and in the past 19 years, PWAF has raised over $2 million for the organization. Check out the top 10 reasons to visit this year…Grab a glass and say cheers to 20 years!
Friday, November 13 PWAF hosts three incredible parties, ranging from black tie to blue jeans. The first is the Longleaf Affair, an intimate dinner party held in the dining room at Pebble Hill Plantation, prepared this year by Birmingham’s award-winning chef Chris Hastings. Attendees are entered into a game of chance and the winner walks away with an art piece from this year’s Encore Gallery.
Sunday, November 15 Bring the kids out for an “Afternoon in the Field” at Thomasville’s beautiful Pebble Hill Plantation. Kids will experience a bobwhite quail hunting demonstration, birds of prey flight show, duck decoy painting, fishing and shooting simulators, and more. This will be followed by a sold-out concert with “soul bent swamp-rocker” JJ Grey & Mofro…but you can still attend as a festival underwriter!
Thursday, November 19 If you are a painter, these artist workshops are a must! Charleston, South Carolina’s Christina Hewson and Birmingham, Alabama’s Sue Key are teaching this year’s Women of Wildlife painting workshop. If you like to paint outdoors, New Jersey artist C.D. Clarke and New Mexico artist Clive Tyler are teaching an “En Plein Air” painting workshop.
Thursday, November 19 Create holiday center pieces and join owners of St. Simons, Georgia’s The Vine Garden Market– event designers Bryce Vann Brock and Kelly Revels– for an incredible floral design workshop.
Thursday, November 19 Kevin’s of Thomasville brings British brand Holland & Holland’s fall/winter collection to life at the Fine Shooting Attire Runway Show, held at the main house of a local plantation. Niels van Rooyen, the brand’s creative director, will speak post show and unveil a limited edition scarf specifically designed for PWAF’s 20th anniversary (seen above).
Friday, November 20 This year, the fine art show Opening Night Preview Party is a black tie event that gives patrons a chance to view and purchase artwork before it is available to the public.
Saturday and Sunday, November 21-22 PWAF brings 65 of the best sporting and wildlife artists from all over the country to Thomasville for a Fine Art Show. To celebrate the twentieth anniversary, 25 past featured artists have been tapped to create an Encore Gallery of new work.
Saturday, November 21 Join Atlanta architect Keith Summerour of Summerour & Associates for his “From Cairo to Cairo”– Egypt to Georgia, that is– talk. He will be discussing his perspective on new plantation dwellings, where the white Greek temple house of the past has evolved into the glass and camouflage of today.
Saturday, November 21 Put on your favorite cowboy boots and blue jeans for the Bird Dog Bash as it is set in one of Pebble Hill’s picturesque barns with live music from the band Lucky Town.
Did we forget to say that Thomasville is completely charming? Because it is. Local shops and restaurants make the city tick – book a stay at the bed & breakfast, The Paxton; start your day with Pilates at Live Young Studio, and head for coffee at Grassroots. Do a little shopping at local jewels like Firefly, Kevin’s of Thomasville, Relish, the Gift Shop, and The Bookshelf. Then, make reservations at one of Thomasville’s delicious restaurants like Jonah’s, Liam’s, Chophouse on the Bricks, Sweet Grass Dairy Cheese Shop, or Bacchus. Plantation Wildlife Arts Festival is the perfect time to experience Thomasville–you’ll definitely come back!