Arts Festival draws large crowds


The 49th Delaware Arts Festival, which was held May 18-19 in downtown Delaware, had something for everyone.

“This was a festival full of a variety of fantastic art, creativity, family entertainment, great food, friendly people and fantastic weather,” said Sherry Riviera, Arts Festival Committee secretary.

Festivities started on Saturday morning with the Hayes Drum Chore marching north then south on Sandusky Street, followed by a concert on the South Sandusky Street stage. Surrounded by Sunday morning sunshine, the Hayes Players, the high school’s chamber orchestra, entertained visitors with classical music selections at the intersection of Sandusky and Winter streets. On South Sandusky Street, large white tents, with table and chairs, kept visitors cool while enjoying delicious fare from the 11 food trucks, local restaurants, and being entertained by six bands and singers.

Once again, the Amazing Giants stilt walkers were back entertaining and interacting with visitors and exhibitors alike. “Lots of photographs with children and adults,” said Riviera.

The Delaware Arts Festival is a nonprofit organization with two beneficiaries: art scholarships totaling $25,000 for three Delaware County high school senior art students, and $10,000 in grant funds to eligible Delaware County art teachers and community nonprofits for special art projects and needs.

The scholarship awards were presented on stage at noon on May 18 by Judge David Hejmanowski of the Delaware County Probate/Juvenile Court. This year’s winners are Dennis Parker (first place) of Buckeye Valley High School, who will be attending Columbus College of Art Design majoring in illustration; Alex Wettrich (second place) from Olentangy Lewis Center High School, who’s destination is Rhode Island School of Design, majoring in painting; and Jax Williams (third place) from Olentangy Liberty High School, who is heading to the College of Creative Studies in Detroit to major in studio art and a focus on art therapy.

“This county has some amazingly talented kids,” said Hejmanowski. The winners’ art works are on display June 1-30 at the Delaware County District Library Main Branch on Winter Street.

Big Walnut Elementary School teacher Dawn Norris presented the Festival Committee with “Kindness Rocks” painted by her fourth grade class. “Thanks to the Delaware Arts Festival for providing the grant money,” she said.

The exhibitors’ white tents housed many artisans creations, including this year’s award winning achievements. Judging is on craftsmanship, good design, originality and presentation. Judges this year were Karen LaValley, a Columbus artist, and Melinda Rosenberg, a Worthington artist.

Best of Show went to Brad Noble from BradLeave. Noble is an illustrator from Columbus. Noble has a bachelor in fine arts from The Ohio State University. A first-time exhibitor with the Delaware Arts Festival, he’s been an illustrator for 10 years and finds his inspiration while hiking in the Hocking Hills and Columbus city scenes. Noble’s process includes creating drawings on paper, then scanned into a computer and digitally colored.

“The process is that I feel like I’m doing something new every two hours, the outcome is always different,” he said. Noble also makes and paints frames that enhance his art work. For more information, visit

First place went Bev Hauenstein of Take Joy in Mt. Vernon. Her original textiles with leaf imprints are all 100% natural fiber. Hauenstein said doing crafts has always given her satisfaction. Around 2018, she started doing fiber art by taking a textile class. To achieve the leaf imprints on fabric, she collects leaves, lays them on her fabric of choice, rolls it very tightly, then steams or boils the roll for several hours. She said the tannin from the leaves is left on the fabric. She creates shawls, scarves and other textiles. Check out Hauenstein at Take Joy Eco Printing/Facebook.

Second place went to Kim Graves from Forever Fresh in Bellbrook, Ohio. Graves creates one-of-a-kind scrapbooks using specialty printed paper and interesting embellishments on the book covers. Graves points out that scrapbooks are not just for special occasions such as weddings, but everyday events, such as a child learning to ride a bike. The moment is then remembered through photos and hand written notes in a special scrapbook. Graves just recently added journals to her line of special items. For more information, visit

The third-place recipient was Andrew Paavola of Otter Be Happy. An illustrator since childhood, Paavola is a 2001 Columbus College of Art and Design graduate. His illustrations depict everyday objects, people, animals and life in general. Two worlds create his art, ink drawings and digital technology. Paavola also creates frames to compliment the illustrations. Paavola and his wife, Carisa, collaborated on a children’s book, “Happy Otter and Sam the Clam, The Oceans Largest Checkerboard.” Carisa wrote the book and Paavola illustrated it. For more information, visit

Honorable Mention went to Brigit Kowalczyk of BBK Leather Designs in Delaware. A former dental hygienist, Kowalczyk said she started working with leather during COVID and kept going. She designs and makes all leather products herself.

“When people love what I make, it makes me happy,” she said. A leather care guide is included with each leather sale. This is Kowalczyk third year exhibiting at the Delaware Arts Festival. For more information, visit

Delaware Arts Festival President Mark Hardymon said, “We had a wonderfully successful Delaware Arts Festival this past weekend. It could never have happened without all the hard work of the team that is the Delaware Arts Festival.”

The Festival Committee also wants to thank all of the sponsors, Flex bus service, the City of Delaware, and the first responders who kept everyone safe.

“This is our favorite show,” said Sandy Overholt, Snyder Dragonfly Pottery.

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