Two jam-packed days of art displays, live entertainment, shopping and delicious food are in store this weekend at the 13th annual Athens ArtsFest, which begins Saturday morning.

Artisans and vendors began to arrive at Harlan Rowe Junior High School Friday afternoon to set up tents and tables for the event, which spans three stages and an outdoor loop outside the school as well as its hallways, cafeteria, auditorium and gymnasium.

Green-shirted ArtsFest staff kept busy Friday, directing traffic, registering artisans and vendors, and ensuring operations for the weekend were in place, said volunteer Ann Lawler.

The annual festival features a juried art show which judges works in 11 categories: two-dimensional art, clay, crafts, culinary arts, fabric, glass, jewelry, metal, mixed medium, photography and wood. Performances will also take place throughout both days, including bands, humorists, school performance groups and actors, on three outside stages as well as the middle school auditorium, according to a schedule of events from ArtsFest. The bands represent a variety of musical styles, including rock, folk, jazz, country and even bagpipes.

The event also boasts a food court, children's activity corner, appearances from several local authors and activities sure to entertain visitors of all ages and interests.

Athens students are heavily involved with festival activities. The Science Olympiad team will host a demonstration table, the Future Farmers of America club has planned a cow pie bingo and petting zoo, students will display their artwork, and the high school band boosters will host an amateur photography contest. Other classes and groups will hold fundraising activities, such as a dunking booth and goldfish races.

Other planned activities include a challenge to defeat chess champion Alex Dunne, an antique car show, horse and buggy rides, displays from local organizations, a demonstration by chainsaw sculptor Brian Harnett, and a nine-hole miniature golf course presented in the Lynch-Bustin Elementary School gymnasium by Aktion KWEST.

Athens ArtsFest runs from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday. Admission and parking are free, and a shuttle service will be provided to and from the festival from Athens Area High School.

Amanda Renko can be reached at (570) 888-9652; or email: