Over the weekend my brother, sister-in-law, nephew, and niece stopped by State College to visit. We pulled an arts festival double header on Friday and Saturday. On Friday we went to the People’s Choice Arts Festival of Pennsylvania Arts & Crafts. I had never been to it before, so I was very interested to see how it compared to the State College Arts Fest.
The People’s Choice Arts Fest is held at the Pennsylvania Military Museum in Boalsburg, PA on the same weekend that the State College Arts Fest is held. It seems to be a blue collar version of the State College Arts Fest. A bit less pretensions perhaps.
Since it has been very hot and dry in Central PA recently the field that hosted the event was rather fried. Every one walked around on the ghost of the grass. It’s not easy being green.
But grass is resilient, underground the roots and crowns sit waiting patiently for rain and cooler weather.
The first exhibit to catch my eye was a booth of exquisitely decorated egg shells. I neglected to locate the artist’s name, so I’m not sure who to credit. I checked the list of artisans on the festival program but could not find the artist. I was surprised that the prices of the eggs were not higher, most of them were less than $30.
Tim Bradford from the Dragon’s Breath Forge (Pleaseant Gap, PA) was doing some blacksmithing. He had a forge, anvil, and hammer, which he put to good use. It’s always neat to see products being constructed at art festivals. Especially when they involve shaping steel or cool equipment. Very close to the blacksmith set-up was a broom maker. He was assembling and trimming brooms at a rapid pace. The trimming implements were impressive. One looked like a massive medieval paper cutter and the other looked like a gigantic pair of primitive scissors.
One of my favorite artists was Roland Metal Art. They had small sculptures that incorporated railroad spikes and some large welded sculptures (a bear and a monkey). In hindsight I wish I had purchased the sculpture they had of a golfer getting ready to tee off (I think I might just order it off their website). Speaking of their website, you really should check it out and look at the various sculptures they make. Good stuff.
Another artists with metal sculptures that I found interesting was Don Rea Designs (He’s based in Damascus, PA). His booth showcased fascinating creations. Bizarre contraptions that remind me of Dr Seuss and robots of all shapes and sizes. It was enjoyable to examine each piece and identify the individual components.
At the festival some artists had signs up requesting that people not take photos of their work. I respected that request and did not take any pictures. While I find signs a bit excessive–and I would be very reluctant to support an artist that displayed one of those signs–posting a sign is a far better alternative to verbally berating someone for taking a picture at a booth that did not display signage to that effect. And one artists did that to me. Maybe he was just having a bad day, but Ron Stinson from Metal Expressions, Ltd. came across in a way that was less than flattering. So instead of a picture of his work (which I liked) and a recommendation with a link (which I intended to give), I will instead give my disapproval.
The People’s Choice Arts Fest has quite a bit of hands on activities for kids. One of the most conspicuous is a “train” that runs a circuit around the exhibit area.
I enjoyed the People’s Choice Arts Festival. In some respects it is similar to the State College Arts Fest and in some it is very different. It has it’s own charm. I plan to go back next year.