Booth’s Cowboy Festival & Symposium shoots for serious fun

Event preview

Southeastern Cowboy Festival & Symposium

Thursday though Saturday at Booth Western Art Museum. $10; 65 and over, $8; students, $7; under age 12, $3. 501 Museum Drive, Cartersville. 770-387-1300,

Serious about the understanding and an advancement of Western art; and seriously into cowboy-hat wearing, family-friendly fun.

Both are consistent aspects of the persona of Cartersville's Booth Western Art Museum, which hosts the four-day Southeastern Cowboy Festival & Symposium starting Thursday.

The 11th annual gathering, which typically includes everything from art lectures to a reenactment of the gunfight at the O.K. Corral, boasts a major addition this year. "Today's West: Contemporary Art From the Buffalo Bill Center of the West," an exhibit drawn from the Cody, Wyo., art institution opens Thursday for a run through April 13.

It features 60 mostly large-scale contemporary works in a range of media that trace Western art developments from 1960 to today, and it's a bookend exhibit with the High Museum of Art's "Go West: Art of the American Frontier From the Buffalo Bill Center of the West." The High show covers the period from 1830 to 1930 and opens Nov. 3 at the Midtown museum.

Here’s a glance at Cowboy Festival & Symposium highlights in Cartersville:

  • 4:30 p.m. Thursday: Opening reception for "Today's West" and gallery walk for "My West: The Art of Theodore Waddell," an exhibit of 50 impressionistic paintings, hand-made prints and sculpture by the Montana and Idaho artist. Waddell will tour guests through his show at 4:30. Light refreshments will be served in the museum's cafe starting at 5:30.
  • 10:30 a.m. Friday: Retired U.S. Sen. Alan K. Simpson (R-Wyo.) opens the symposium with the talk "Why I Love Western Art, the Booth and the Buffalo Bill Center of the West." At 11:30, Michelle Anne Delaney of the Smithsonian Institution discusses "Advance Work: Art and Advertising in Buffalo Bill's Wild West." High Museum American art curator Stephanie Heydt details its "Go West" show at 2 p.m., and Mindy Besaw, a Buffalo Bill Center curator, talks about "Today's West" at 3 p.m.
  • 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday: Cowboy Festival, kid's activities and Western marketplace. Day-long entertainment on two stages includes the ever-popular O.K. Corral reenactments at 11 a.m., 1 and 3 p.m.; cowboy music and poetry with Tom Kerlin and Jim Dorsett at 1:30 and 3:30 p.m.; and traditional native American dancing at 4 p.m. There will a children's parade for costumed kids ages 2-12 at 1:30 p.m. (also at 2 p.m. Sunday).
  • 7 p.m. Saturday: John Anderson concert at the Grand Theatre (to purchase tickets, $30: 770-387-1300).
  • Noon-5 p.m. Sunday: Cowboy Festival continues. Highlights include non-denominational Cowboy Church at 11 a.m.; "The Lone Ranger Creed with the Lone Ranger and Tonto" program at 1:30 p.m.; and "Code of the West with Hopalong Cassidy" at 2:30 p.m.