Street Fest holds onto artistic roots

June 25, 2006|by TIFFANY ARNOLD

SHEPHERDSTOWN, W.Va. - The two-year-old Shepherdstown Street Fest might have grown, but it held onto its artistic roots Saturday.

Around 60 food vendors, craftsmen and artists were on hand for this year's festival along King and High streets.

New to the festival this year were more vendors and more free children's activities, event manager Donn Marshall said. There also were more bands - a total of five - this year, Marshall said.

Last year, the festival drew 2,000 people, but it had 20 fewer vendors, four bands and a minimal number of children's activities, Marshall said. The street fair also was limited to the one-block stretch along King Street, between German and High streets.

The festival, Marshall said, was a grass-roots effort sparked by the excitement around the Contemporary American Theater Festival's 15th anniversary celebration last year.


Representatives from the Contemporary American Theater and Arts and Humanities Alliance of Jefferson County promoted their programs, and individual artists used the festival as an opportunity to market themselves.

"A lot of people like to connect with the fact that they're meeting the person who actually made the crafts, the person who made the goods," craft vendor Dana Aldis said.

Aldis, who teaches drawing and painting at Shepherd University, displayed hand-bound journals and photo albums made of Japanese fabric for sale at the festival.

"This is my first time at this event," said Aldis, 33, of Shepherdstown.

First-time festivalgoers Talia Caraballo, 20, Dana Salas, 20, and Caleb Baird, 23, said they would like to see more events such as the street fest take place in Shepherdstown.

"There's the American Theater Festival," said Baird, a recent Shepherd graduate. "Other than that, it's just the typical college keg party."

Richard Raymond, a member of the Arts and Humanities Alliance's board, said there are several arts-related events in Shepherdstown throughout the year. Raymond said Saturday's festival reflected a thriving arts community in Shepherdstown.

"I think there's a little bit of everything for everyone," Raymond said. "I highly applaud their efforts."

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