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Art vendors peddle works at First Saturday Street Fair

May 05, 2007|By TRISH RUDDER

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. - The goal of a monthly sidewalk market downtown is to promote area art and tourism.

"Let's Fall in Love with Martinsburg Again" is the theme for the First Saturday Street Fairs that began in April and will run through October, if the weather holds, said Bonnie Rockie, president of ArtBerkeley, a local artisan group.

"It snowed in April, so we may start a little later next year," Rockie said.

ArtBerkeley, the Heritage Craft Center and Main Street Martinsburg collaborated to present the street fair, Rockie said.

Rockie, a china painter from Los Angeles who moved to Martinsburg, said she wants to do more to promote artists and encourage tourism.

About 20 vendors were set up on Queen Street between Martin and Burke streets, with items including artwork, jewelry, pottery, hand-woven rugs, soaps and clothing.

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Katherine Ryan had a booth promoting Star Power, a filmmakers' workshop for teens that begins in June at the Holiday Inn in Martinsburg.

Interested teens can learn how to write a script, act, direct and operate a camera, she said. Ryan is working with Marianne Tomasic, a Hedgesville High School teacher.

Judy Jeffares, ArtBerkeley's treasurer and the vice president of the Heritage Craft Center, said more vendors will be added.

"We want to create a marketplace atmosphere," she said.

Watercolorist John Bickle, who has lived in Martinsburg for 18 years, said he paints more now that he's retired. He said he likes doing paintings of historical buildings and has done some that are in Berkeley, Jefferson and Morgan counties.

"The street fair is much needed and brings people out to see what we have to offer," Bickle said.

Nelson and Betty Robinson, who have been Berkeley County residents "all our lives," Betty Robinson said, came to the street fair for the first time.

"This is good for the community," she said. "I did not know all this was available."

First Saturday Street Fairs will be held on the first Saturday of each month through October from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on the Queen Street sidewalks between Martin and Burke streets.

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