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Five Years of Coordinating Arts and Crafts at Fall Festival

Five Years of Coordination Arts and Crafts at the Fall Festival

Crafts are displayed in the large room at Bob Rudd Building

Arts and crafts shows don't create themselves

If you think putting together an arts and crafts competition and showcase happens overnight, then you need to spend a day with Joyce Higginbotham. For five years, she’s been the person behind the scenes that makes the arts and crafts show a success at the Pahrump Fall Festival. Joyce and her committee put in hours of coordination and effort to bring the show together.

The journey started in 2013

In 2013, the festival coordinators came to the local quilters group and asked if they would take on this project. Joyce agreed to give it a try and has been doing it ever since. After taking the project on, she went to the town storage and sought out the history of the event. There was virtually no carry over from previous years, so she designed a process based on what little information she did find and her own knowledge of how to get things done.

In 2013, they had demos only and a few samples of work created by the Shadow Mountain Quilter’s group. In 2014, they hosted it again, but this year they held an arts and craft competition with 335 entries. In 2015, the entries grew to 398 and rose to 527 in 2016. This year at the 2017 festival they had 494 entries of varying types of arts and crafts.

They house the show in Bob Rudd Building at Petrack Park during the annual Fall Festival and work with the Spring Mountain Art Guild, and the Master Gardeners to establish a stunning collection of the work done by very talented people in the Pahrump area. Categories range from painting, photography, handcrafts, quilting, knitting, and woodworking to baking, preserves, and plants.  The larger room at the Rudd Center is used for crafts. The smaller rooms are used to display the artwork and photography as well as the food and horticulture exhibits.

Joyce says she has an army of wonderful volunteers helping her with the intake of the entries, doing the appropriate documentation, staging, enlisting judges, and scribing for the judges’ records. This group provides all judges except for the food and horticulture displays.

Participants of all ages welcome

Participation from every age level is encouraged, especially the kids. A specific table at the fair is designated for child entries. The group continually urges children to be active in the arts; from crafts and painting to creative writing.

In addition to working with the public schools, Joyce indicated they keep trying to reach the home-schooled students. Any age is welcome to engage in the arts. This year’s participants were broken into five categories:

Free to enter levels

  • Tadpoles ages 0-4
  • Pee-wee ages 5-8
  • Youth ages 9-12

One dollar entry fee level

  • Teens ages 13-17
  • Adults ages 18 and above

The rules for entry are listed on the Pahrump Chamber of Commerce website each year prior to the festival and must be followed closely especially in food categories. If the rules are not followed, the item will be rejected.

The normal schedule during the festival is Monday through Wednesday entries are accepted, Wednesday through Thursday judging takes place, and Friday through Sunday the exhibit is open to the public for viewing.

Joyce and her committee are responsible for making sure all appropriate forms are collected, and the right ribbon goes with the proper entry. She has one person dedicated to that process and another that cross checks it. One of the challenges the team faces each year is planning for the number of participants. They have no way of knowing how many entries will be coming in. They must be creative in their space planning.

Outside of being the coordinator for the Arts and Crafts exhibit at the Fall Festival, Joyce is very active in the Shadow Mountain Quilters organization which hosts their 22nd annual Pins & Needles Show, in February 2018 at Nevada Treasures RV Resort in the Convention and Conference Center.

Joyce used to crochet and cross stitch, but she’s so involved with the quilting community now, she rarely has time for other hobbies. Making gifts for others and thinking about the recipient as she works on them is enjoyable and comforting for her. Joyce finds the camaraderie with others who enjoy similar hobbies pleasant and relaxing. Learning from others is also a major advantage of belonging to these arts and crafts-oriented groups.

Many thanks to Joyce and her team

We’d like to thank Joyce for her continual work on the Fall Festival Arts and Crafts Show. It’s people like her and her team that help keep the community spirit alive in Pahrump.

If you are interested in joining any of these groups or wish to talk about any aspect of arts and crafts, you can contact her at

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