Street Fest grew from pride in community

June 27, 2009|By MARIE GILBERT

SHEPHERDSTOWN, W.Va. -- July 4th might be just around the corner, but Saturday, Millie McDonough was concentrating on another holiday.

She was Christmas shopping.

An hour after arriving at the fifth annual Shepherdstown Street Fest, McDonough had purchased an armload of gifts and was sure she would find more.

"I always use events like this to find unique items," said McDonough, of Kearneysville, W.Va. "When my friends and family open their presents, they know it will be something that's one of a kind."

McDonough was among thousands of people who worked their way along German Street throughout the day, checking out crafts, clothing and artwork.


There also were activities for children, food vendors and live music.

"It's definitely a party atmosphere," event coordinator Don Marshall said. "Everybody seems to be having a great time."

Marshall said the idea for a street fest began when a group of his friends began discussing how lucky they were to live in Shepherdstown.

"We felt blessed by this community and the friendships we had made," he said. "This is such a unique area. We wanted to celebrate."

Marshall said the street fest has grown from a small neighborhood party to an event that this year was expected to draw more than 3,000 people.

"We try to feature all local musicians and artists, primarily from the West Virginia Panhandle and the Hagerstown area," he said. "But we also have participants from as far away as Washington, D.C."

Marshall said about 60 vendors were participating in this year's festival.

"But it's more like 80 vendors if you include all the local businesses who have opened their doors today," he said. "This event is a wonderful opportunity to showcase the businesses in Shepherdstown. You won't find any box stores here."

Among the organizations that also had booths set up along the street was the nonprofit Arts and Humanities Alliance of Jefferson County (W.Va.).

"This is a great way to raise awareness of what the organization is all about, plus promote some of our upcoming programs," said Dane Konop, chairman of the public relations committee.

Konop said he and other volunteers had received a good response from passers-by about a black-and-white photo film workshop, as well as an art exhibit and sale at the Entler Hotel in Shepherdstown. Both events will take place this summer.

Jerry Mahon said he and his family had escaped the noise and congestion of their home near Washington, D.C., for a day in Shepherdstown.

"We attended the street fest the last two years and always have a lot of fun," he said. "When we saw that it was coming up again, we marked it on our calendars. It's something we really make an effort to attend."

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