DOUBLE SPRINGS - Organizers of the annual Empty Bowls dinner benefitting both the Winston County Arts Council and Main Street Ministries have waited nearly two years for the event to celebrate its 10th anniversary.
The last Empty Bowl event was held in October of 2019, celebrating its 9th anniversary.
Then, the COVID-19 pandemic hit the following spring, creating a topsy-turvy world for so many.
Organizers of Empty Bowls too struggled, hoping to host the event last year but at a different time of year due to the pandemic.
As the pandemic increased and more cases of COVID-19 were reported, they decided to forego in 2020 plans they had made to move the event from the third Thursday in October to February.
As the pandemic seems to be dying down, plans to host the 10th Empty Bowls have started back. Instead of the event being held the third Thursday in October, the event is scheduled to be held on Thursday, Feb. 3, organizers have proudly announced.
“We are working hard towards the next event,” stressed Cindy Bryant, member of Winston County Arts Council board.
Although Empty Bowls will not be until February, a major project is already underway in preparation, Bryant explained.
Bisqueware bowls are being coated with a glaze, with members of the public coming into the pottery workshop located at Meek Schools in Arley, and making their bowls more colorful and artistic, she added.
The public from different communities and churches are painting the bowls on the Meek campus. The ceramic bowls, which are being designed after being fired or placed in the kiln one time, are being decorated with unique colors, glaze and designs.
“It’s something new,” said Bryant. “I think it will draw a whole lot more, especially because the community has been involved. They want to come and see their bowls out there.”
These bowls will be among the many colors and varieties available for pickup at the Empty Bowls event, which will be held at the auditorium of the Double Springs Municipal Building on Highway 195.
The bowls can either be placed on display at the Empty Bowls dinner, or the designer/creater of the bowl has the option to purchase it for $15, with the proceeds benefitting the arts council.
“It will bring a whole lot more people to Empty Bowls,” Bryant noted. “These people are excited.”
The actual Empty Bowls event will feature not only a display of bowls from the pottery workshop but also at least 20 vendors serving a wide variety of delicious soups to the public.
Bryant explained one of the reasons organizers sought to move the Empty Bowls to February was due to its conflict with fall sporting events.
School sports in February will not be as “heavy” as fall sports, she noted.
Also, February, which can be known as a cold month during the winter season, will make the warm soups served at the event even more appetizing, organizers said.
“A lot of times in October, it’s not cold yet,” she noted. “(February) is just a better time to do it.”
Also, there is no air conditioning in the main auditorium of the municipal building, so previous events held during October, made the room quite warm, especially with so many vendors heating their soups for serving.
“(The auditorium) is heated, so that would be better for that,” stated Theresa Snoddy, vice chairperson of the arts council. “We just think it will be a better time of year to have it.”
The celebration of Empty Bowls’ 10th anniversary in February will indeed be a time of major celebration--of people coming back together after the raging pandemic, and having a time of food but most importantly fellowship.
Tickets for the event will be $15, the same price of the bowls being made, organizers said. Tickets will go on sale in December.
Although the public is encouraged to purchase bowls at the event, each person attending also receives a free bowl, Snoddy noted.
Tickets will also be available at municipal libraries as well as Smith Lake Vintage Mall and Flea Market in Arley or from any arts council member, volunteers from Main Street or at the Winston County Circuit Clerk’s office located in the courthouse in Double Springs.
See complete story in the Northwest Alabamian.