Walking around the New World Festival of the Arts in Manteo on Wednesday and Thursday an internal debate started to bubble up; what’s more impressive, the art or the creativity.

There wasn’t a clear answer.

Any arts festival that features Outer Banks artist James Melvin, who is an extraordinarily gifted painter as well as the illustrator for Suzanne Tate’s children’s book, gets high marks for artistry.

But then there’s David Graves coming to the show from Florida, who makes flutes from the river cane that only grows in the state. The flutes, exquisitely crafted,  create a sound that is beautiful and unique. David’s wife mentioned that she wasn’t sure if they liked living in Florida, but that’s where the river cane grew that was so important to their flutes.

Chris Sawin, who is the Executive Director of the Dare County Arts Council, the festival’s sponsor, said there were 78 exhibitors this year, and with booths lining the waterfront and into the small park next to it, that seems about right.

Considering how hot it was, especially on Wednesday, the crowds were pretty good and number of vendors remarked on what looked to be a fairly successful show.

This was the 35th year for the New World Festival of the Arts. Begun by the Christmas Store’s Edward Greene in 1981, it’s an Outer Banks tradition that looks like it’s going to keep going for a while.