With its majestic live oak trees and 19th-century homes, the Isle of Hope Historic District is a moss-covered jewel that exhibits the visual qualities many associate with the South. It is no wonder then that the area is a popular location for Hollywood film shoots.
The annual Isle of Hope Art & Music Festival is a celebration of this tight-knit community’s many charms.
Brigitte VanBaelen-Szychowski, a board member of the Isle of Hope Historical Association, which organizes the festival, moved to the beautiful neighborhood in 2005 when she married one of the local residents.
“I just love the small community feel that it is here. Everybody looks out for each other, and it’s a great place to raise kids,” says Szychowski.
The festival had its modest beginnings 18 years ago when it was just a small local gathering.
“The art festival got started a very long time ago in Noel Wright’s front yard at a house on Bluff Drive,” explains Szychowski. “It was organized back then by the Isle of Hope Art Guild and they just had a handful of artists who were all Isle of Hopians.
“It grew a little bit year by year and they moved from the front yard to the Marina Pavilion, and then when we had our 275th celebration of Isle of Hope, it became this huge event with live entertainment, a museum, a parade, and it became an all-day family event. After that, residents asked for it. They wanted it back.”
The annual event now hosts over 100 artists from not only Isle of Hope, but also the greater Savannah area and surrounding communities. Almost every kind of art will be on display, including paintings, pottery, jewelry, crafts and more.
There is a stellar lineup of entertaining music headlined by Rolling Stones tribute band Monkey Man. Also on the bill are the Isaac Smith Band, Free Spirit Trio, Andrew Gill and Austin Quattlebaum, a talented banjo player who studied under Bela Fleck. “He is actually a Savannah native who is coming back to play for us,” says Szychowski.
The festival has partnered up with the Savannah Food Truck Association, so there will be eight to nine food trucks split between the park and the pavilion.
Because it is a family event, there will be plenty of fun and games for the kids, such as face painting and balloons.
“We will also have Mathnasium,’"says Szychowski. “They will be there with their yard games and other fun things to do.” The Savannah Adult Recreation Club will also be on hand with cornhole and other activities.
The Isle of Hope Art & Music Festival is a great reason for anyone who has yet to visit this captivating part of the city to come out and enjoy the abundance of creativity Savannah inspires.
IF YOU GO
What: Isle of Hope Art & Music Festival
When: Oct. 20; art show 10 a.m.-5 p.m., music 11 a.m.-8 p.m.
Where: Isle of Hope Marina Pavilion, Paxton Park, Bluff Drive, Rose Avenue