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Llano Earth Art Fest returns with fun stacked upon fun and even more

The Llano Earth Art Fest and Rockstacking World Championship returns to the Llano River on March 11-13. Staff photo by Jared Fields

LLANO — Who knew that anyone would show up to a festival featuring rock stacking and a few other off-the-wall ideas? At least that was some of the thinking before last year’s inaugural Llano Earth Art Festival.

“We went in thinking, you know, maybe a few hundred people would show up,” said Binky La Faye, one of the folks behind the festival. “But we had thousands of people show up. It just blew us away.”

This year, LEAF returns March 11-13 at Grenwelge Park. And with last year under their belts, organizers are anticipating an even bigger event and have added quite a few things, including (you really have to check this out) the LEAFling Festy Fashion Circus.

A quick recap for those who don’t really know what LEAF is or might have forgotten: The biggest part of the festival is the Rockstacking World Championship, which occurs along the shore and in the Llano River. And it’s just what it sounds like — people stacking rocks.

Before you think, “Well, that sounds boring,” this isn’t just a couple of rocks set on top of one another. No, the top competitors create intricate pieces of work, often balancing rocks in ways that seem to defy physics. They even create arches and more circular patterns that, again, seem impossible.

Several of the top rock stackers around, including Michael Grab, Kathy Clarke, Debra Mastenbrook, David Allen and Tim Anderson, will be competing.

But it’s not just about the big names in rock stacking. One of the things organizers wanted was something anyone could come out and try. The competition is open to anyone — yep, that means even you.

“We wanted this festival to be different in that you don’t just come and watch others do things,” La Faye said. “We wanted it to be participatory. People enjoy a festival they can participate in.”

The competition features four categories: height, arches, balance and artistic. The competitions are open to ages 8 and older. While it might sound “new” to you, apparently humans have enjoyed rock stacking for eons — this competition and festival, however, takes it to a new level.

You can register, check out the rules and download a waiver at llanoearthartfest.org.

La Faye pointed out that while rock stacking anchors the festival, there is a lot more going on throughout the three days.

While the festival included music last year, it’s grown exponentially this time around. Throughout all three days, people can enjoy a eclectic mix of live music.

But, like last year, you’ll find a nice dash of performance artists, including belly dancing and fire spinners.

Oh, back to the LEAFling Festy Fashion Circus.

The fashion show, with a totally LEAF twist, is 6 p.m. March 11 on the main stage in Grenwelge Park.

“It’s going to be fun like a fashion show but more festival-related clothes and things like that,” La Faye said. “But way over the top. Kind of like Burning Man (a way-over-the-top festival held in the Nevada Black Rock desert each year).”

The festival also holds several workshops, including on natural detoxication, tai chi, primitive fire starting, water purification, beginner drop spindle and clearing the mind. You can also learn about how you can help protect the Llano River and the Hill Country night skies.

Plus, play some Slysnatch. Yeah, you’re going to have to check this game out yourself.

All this and more happens along the Llano River at Grengwelge Park, located on the southeast side of Texas 16 and the Roy Inks Bridge.

“The other amazing thing about this festival,” La Faye said, “is it’s still free to attend. We’re proud of that and worked really hard to keep it free.”

So, load up the family and friends (hey, and even a few strangers) and head to the Llano Earth Art Fest for a little rock stacking and a whole lot more.

Go to llanoearthartfest.org for more information and to even volunteer.

daniel@thepicayune.com

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