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Arts, crafts, music highlight Shepherdstown Street Fest

June 25, 2011|By MATTHEW UMSTEAD | matthewu@herald-mail.com

SHEPHERDSTOWN, W.Va. — The idea to come to Shepherdstown Street Fest Saturday was subtly planted in Randy Collins' mind.

When he found the weekend section of the newspaper open to the page that listed information about the yearly showcase of musicians, artists and community, Collins knew what his wife, Carol, wanted to do this weekend.

"She'll do little things like that," Collins said as the couple and their children browsed among more than 70 vendors that lined portions of German and King streets in the historic community.

Carol Collins said she loved all of the crafts and enjoys coming to Shepherdstown, but was particularly interested to hear local physician Mark Cucuzzella talk about healthy running and walking after the martial arts demonstration had ended.

Cucuzzella, who owns Two Rivers Treads in Shepherdstown, told the crowd that the shoe store was the first in the nation to promote the health benefits of a barefoot running form — without "big, thick, bulky" shoes.

"Now, we're discovering in the science lab that (such shoes are) not a good thing to help reduce injuries," said Cucuzzella, who was barefoot on Saturday.

The race director for Freedom's Run, a race through four area national parks, said he runs about 80 percent of the time without any shoes.

"If you run, nice and kind of happy and easy, you decrease your risk of death 63 percent," said Cucuzzella, who demonstrated the benefits of avoiding heel strike with youngsters who joined him in the square.

New Shepherdstown resident Eleanor Finn said she planned to visit all of the vendors to see what might pique her interest. While interested in plants, Finn said she also would like to find artwork that her sister found a couple of years ago.

"It's a unique and wonderful town," said Finn, who moved to the community in April from Long Island, N.Y., after visiting Shepherdstown for theater and other events.

Among artisans taking part in the festival, at least two painters had taken to the street to work their brushes Saturday.

Set up at the town square near the Shepherdstown Men's Club, artist Dennis Clarke of Martinsburg, W.Va., had sketched a drawing of the festival scene before noon Saturday and then illuminated it with watercolors.

"Actually, the drawing is harder than the painting," Clarke said as students of Master Jong Lee at the Jong Hap Mu Sool Martial Arts School demonstrated martial arts in the town square.

All of the paintings sold were to benefit the Men's Club, a community-service organization.

Outside the Lost Dog cafe, Shepherd University art major Trent Griffin was drizzling acrylic paint across a canvas lying on a drop cloth.

Griffin said some of his nonobjective abstract style work has taken as little as an hour to complete, while other pieces took as long as a month.

Asked to participate in the festival by the cafe owner, Griffin said he also has a show opening there on July 7.

All of the retail businesses that fronted the plastic-fenced festival area were afforded the opportunity to have vendor space outside on the street, said Chris Stroech, vice president of the Street Fest board.

Other vendors were juried for the sixth edition of the festival, which wasn't held last year, Stroech said.

Among those were Peace in the Valley Herb Farm of Berkeley County, which was selling "frivolously fresh cut flowers," along with bedding plants, blueberries, lettuce and other items.   

Stroech said proceeds generated from the day-long festival, which featured at least nine musical acts, will benefit Hospice of the Panhandle and the community's library. Organizers this year hoped to attract about 5,000 people.

"I'm not sure I'm ready for them," Stroech said, smiling.

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