Kay Bell: The Face Behind Elm Tea Fest

In 2001, Kay Bell was diagnosed with cancer. Rather than wanting to subject herself to harmful medication, she turned to teas and herbs. During chemotherapy, she began researching peppermint and discovered the incredible health benefits. What started as a fun project soon grew into a hobby and her passion.

“Now, no one in my family takes any medication; Only tea and herbs,” said Bell.

Bell began growing peppermint, and soon had a surplus. She decided to package it and sell it, which led to the creation of her business. Bell started “Cadae Tea” in 2010 in Waco, Texas with just one farming lot and a table at the local farmer’s market.  Now, she has several lots where she farms her tea and has extended her business to several farmer’s markets, a local health store and most recently a tea festival. 

Bell approached Doreen Ravenscroft, founder and president of Cultural Arts of Waco, with the idea to add a tea festival to Art on Elm. Thus, Elm Tea Fest was born. 

“Kay is enthusiastic about the neighborhood and how to keep it healthy and bring more awareness,” said Ravenscroft. “It’s her passion for tea.”

The first Elm Tea Fest took place on April 7, 2018. Unfortunately, the weather was bleak throughout the day, but that did not stop people from coming to support Art on Elm.

“On such a cold day, it became such a pleasing moment that people came out regardless to support us,” said Ravenscroft.

Photo courtesy of Lone Star Houston Tea Festival Facebook page.

Bell’s favorite part of the event was the afternoon high tea. People got to participate in a traditional afternoon tea, complete with scones and clotted cream, while listening to Amanda Vermillion from The Tea Mistress speak.

Both Bell and Ravenscroft were pleased with the outcome of the Elm Tea Fest and how it further advanced Art on Elm’s mission. “The community came together to participate in the afternoon tea,” said Ravenscroft. “A community member gave the clotted cream and Lula Janes gave the scones. That’s what Art on Elm is supposed to personify, that the neighborhood owns it and takes part.”

Though the first Elm Tea Fest was a small event, it was a building block and a step in the right direction. Bell has big visions for Elm Tea Fest, hoping to add more vendors and speakers in the future.

“Tea fascinates me,” said Bell, who looks forward to continuing to sharing her passion for tea and herbs with others through Elm Tea Fest.

Elm Tea Fest Speakers: Kay Bell and Amanda Vermillion  

WACO – Cultural Arts of Waco announces the vendor and speaker line up for Art on Elm’s tea festival. Amanda Vermillion and Kay Bell will be featured at Elm Tea Fest on April 7.

Event features include tea vendors, tea tastings, guest speakers, a tea market and a ticketed traditional afternoon tea. The tea market will showcase tea merchants from the Waco area and beyond and feature vendors from across the state and country.

Amanda Vermillion and her company The Tea Mistress from Houston, Texas have been invited to speak at Elm Tea Fest. Vermillion’s lifelong passion and interest in tea led her to start her own company in 2013. She is the Director of Lone Star Houston Tea Festival.

Kay Bell, the founder and owner of Cadae Tea in Waco, Texas, will also speak at Elm Tea Fest. She began her company as a single table at a farmer’s market in 2010. Her products are now carried in various stores. Bell is passionate about tea, and has been a featured speaker at the Houston Tea Festival.

The vendors and speakers will help fulfill the mission to promote and expand the knowledge of tea and its culture. Participants will have the opportunity to learn about the history and culture of tea, while tasting various types.

Event features include tea vendors, tea tastings, guest speakers, a tea market and a ticketed traditional afternoon tea. The tea market will showcase tea merchants from the Waco area and beyond and feature vendors from across the state and country.

Contact Doreen@wacoartsfest.org or visit artonlem.org/elm-tea-fest/ for more information.

Art on Elm: Free Art Exhibition in Waco

Come to admire the art. Stay to enjoy the rest.

WACO – Cultural Arts of Waco presents Art on Elm, a pop-up art exhibition on April 6 and 7, 2018. The free event is located at 418 Elm Ave. and spreads from Dallas Street to Sherman Street in the historic district.

The weekend begins with Splash on the Color!, a preview party for the art festival. The party is from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. on April 6 at 520 Elm Ave. Tickets are $20 per person and are available for purchase here: http://artonelm.org/pp2018/.

Events take place from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday, April 7.

Art on Elm aims to celebrate the artistic culture of Waco. It will feature a tea festival, local artists, live music, food vendors and a juried art exhibition.

This year’s juried art exhibition theme is community. Participants must work in Texas to enter a submission and can submit up to three pieces, but not all entries are selected for the exhibition.

The juried art submission deadline is Sunday, March 19. For more information regarding the juried art exhibition guidelines, visit artonelm.org/artists/exhibition-gallery/.

Contact Doreen@wacoartsfest.org or visit artonlem.org for more information.

 

History of Art on Elm Avenue

In 2010 the local branch of a national housing services organization started an art event. On a recommendation about how to get investment in an historic but neglected area, Neighborworks Waco got into the festival business. For 4 years they ran a super event, each year getting bigger and bigger. Closing down historic Elm Avenue for a day, hosting an exhibition, keeping booth prices low so that local artists and makers could attend, Neighborworks invited the city to come remember why Elm thrived for many years.

Doreen Ravenscroft, founder and director of Waco Cultural Arts Fest, was involved from the start,  providing arts activities like the ones offered at WCAF. When our friends at Neighborworks knew the event had outgrown their ability to do their mission, they knew just who to talk to!

Last year, 2016 was our first year in charge and it was great. We kept things mostly the same, doing a few layout tweaks based on previous years. The juried artist exhibition was held in the fantastic Brazos E space and the youth art exhibition got a huge space we got to use for the first time. The step-topped building on the corner of Dallas Street was used for a day or poetry programming.

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In 2017 things will be a little bit different, as  we’ve switched over to the artonelm.org URL. Also! The Ravenscroft Foundation’s purchase of 418 Elm Avenue (the stepped one on the corner of Dallas St.) to be ArtPlace, for Cultural Arts of Waco to make into a centrally-located arts & community hub for the area. Plans are beginning for the renovation of the roof and other elements of the building and we’re not sure what state the building will be in when April 8 rolls around. We’ll still have a wonderful event filled with talented local and Texas artists-adult and children alike, local food purveyors, and free arts activities. More information this week about how to apply for exhibition space, booth space, or food sales! Also to come, a history of Elm Avenue, Waco.