"I enjoy being part of a tradition," Matthews said. "This week is the beginning of an exciting week for me personally because I can feel fall in the air and [it is wonderful] to see all those artists come in and want to be a part of our tradition at Rose Lawn and to offer that to the community, to have a place where people can bring their family and spend the day.
"We love to see people there all day. There's no time limit. You can spend all day, both days with us. That's why we try to have a good variety of food vendors and we have entertainment all day Saturday and Sunday [and] then all the different variety of artists. We really like for people to spend as much time as possible. There's things for mom, dad, children, everybody."
With more than 100 selected to attend, a record number of artists will be showcasing their works on the grounds of the Rose Lawn Museum -- 224 W. Cherokee Ave. in Cartersville -- Saturday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Sunday from noon to 5 p.m. Attracting exhibitors from across the Southeast, the festival will feature a wide variety of artwork, such as pottery, woodworking, paintings and jewelry. More than 35 artists will compete in the juried art contest, offering $1,000 in prizes.
"Being the 36th year of [the Arts Festival at] Rose Lawn, this is a long-time tradition [in] Bartow County," Matthews said. "We are excited to have so many returning artists because we have people who come back year after year to shop with those same artists. But at the same time we're growing it with new and different artists so that you can see new art, different types of art.
"So it has the constant of those [artists], like [potters] Ronnie Payne [and] Darrell Adams [and jewelers] Katie and Kyle Pace. You have those artists who are with us every year. They're at the same booth and people know they can come and get their pottery or their jewelry ... but at the same time, now they've got another large group of new artists that are going to be there. Over the last 10 years, we've really tried to continually increase the fine art aspect."
In addition to artists, the festival -- sponsored by Cartersville-Bartow County Convention & Visitors Bureau and Bartow County government -- also will include live entertainment, an annual book sale hosted by the Cartersville chapter of American Association of University Women, a plant sale by the Bartow County Master Gardeners and children's programs conducted by the Bartow History Museum in the Rose Lawn Schoolhouse.
The entertainment will kick off with Kerry's School of Dance Saturday at 10 a.m. Other acts will include Cartersville Gymnastics, Steps of Faith Dance Studio, Cartersville City Ballet, Spirit of Dance Co., North Rome Church of God Singers, and soloists Carmen Jordan and Terry Jordan. Closing out the day's performances will be Penn Lester and The Dixie Hot Shots from 3:45 to 5 p.m.
Sunday's lineup will include Stephanie Culver & Praise Team at 12:30 p.m., Rick McKee of Cosmic Possum Music at 1:30 p.m., Randall Mullinax at 2:30 p.m. and 3B&JG at 3:30 p.m.
On Saturday at 1 p.m., accolades will be bestowed in three different presentations: Juried Artists Awards, the Hospitality Heroes Awards and the People's Choice Awards for the top attraction, restaurant and shop. While there is no admission charge to enter the festival, $4 tours will be available of the 18-room Victorian museum that is the former residence of the late Methodist evangelist Sam Jones and now features the belongings of his family and teacher, Rebecca Latimer Felton.
"[The tours] are self-guided but in each room there are docents that will give you historical tidbits, various information about the displays that you will be looking at," said Regina Wheeler, festival co-chairwoman and the Cartersville-Bartow County CVB's deputy director. "The decor of Rose Lawn is Victorian, so it's really quite lovely. It's an architectural marvel in that they raised a two-story cottage and then built this lovely first floor underneath. So it's really quite phenomenal.
"It was something that was a little bit unheard of in its time. But Laura Jones, Sam Jones' wife, wanted to preserve her cottage and he saw fit to do so. So that was a great attribute for her [and it] created a really unique facility there. And throughout [the tour] you'll learn about Sam Jones, his life as a minister, his life before he became a minister. Then also, there are displays for Rebecca Latimer Felton, who was a teacher of Sam Jones but was also honored as the first female to be seated in the U.S. Senate. She served one day in the seat that was formerly held by her husband."
Guests will be able to park at the Cartersville Civic Center or the Frank Moore Administration and Judicial Center, where complimentary shuttle buses will transport them to Rose Lawn's grounds. For more information about the festival, call Wheeler at 770-387-1357.