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Thousand Springs Festival delights hundreds

Hagerman Valley Chamber 09/16/25

By Mychel Matthews (view original article)

HAGERMAN — Ritter Island State Park was filled Saturday with art, song and food. And people. Lots of people.

Despite that pesky Idaho wind, folks from as far away as Seattle flocked to the 24th annual Thousand Springs Festival of Arts, which continues Sunday until 5 p.m.

The festival features dozens of artists and craftsmen selling pottery, jewelry, soap and oils, herbs, paintings and photographs. Visitors can hold a reptile from the Herrett Center, take a gander at raptors from the Birds of Prey Center, ride canoes in the Snake River or ride around the island in a horse-drawn wagon.

Thousands Springs has become a tradition for many, including artists and visitors.

Kathy Sorensen came from Seattle to attend the festival. Her friend Glenda Gibson hosts a “Thousand Springs” party every year. They wouldn’t miss it, they said.

Twin Falls framer Ron Hicks and his son Jason Hicks joined forces to sell their artwork at the festival. The father offers his pastel landscapes for sale, while the son sells his whimsical “3D frescoes” resembling colorful imaginary creatures.

Much of their work is inspired by nature, streams and fly fishing, Jason Hicks said. “The local scenes are very personal to us.”

Charles Trainor of Boise manned the Mud Pie Arts Pottery booth, while his wife, artist Patricia Sadler, was away.

“I do the lugging and carrying,” Trainor said. “I’m the muscle and she’s the brains.”

Melodee Sather also brought pottery from Boise. Sather’s a registered nurse at Borah High School.

“I used to do oil paintings,” she said. But her husband gave her a pottery wheel for Mother’s Day one year. She hasn’t touched a brush since, except to paint glazes and details on her pottery.

Rhonda and John Hanzel of Boise come every year. She likes “the craft stuff, but my husband likes the beer and music.”

Boise photographer David Day prints his work on various surfaces, including metal and wood.

“I do a lot of festivals and this is my favorite,” Day said, while showing off some of his images.

Sunday’s entertainment includes Sons of Thunder Mountain, Gayle Chapman and Jason Buckalew Dueling, Steve Eaton, and the Wilson-Fairchild duo.

In addition, J.C. Kilgore demonstrates blacksmithing, and Roy Mason demonstrates watercolor painting. Children have their own corner where they can paint a pumpkin, courtesy of Mike and Marie Heath of M&M Heath Farms.

The festival “is a really fun family activity,” Carolyn White, executive director of the Magic Valley Arts Council, said. The arts council is overseeing the festival this year for the first time.

The arts council “will bring a lot of new energy to the event while continuing the things that have made it a perennial favorite and a success,” land trust President Jack C. Kulm said.

“We’re partnering with the Southern Idaho Land Trust to manage the festival,” White said. “We feel it fits our mission, so we’ve jumped in with both feet.”