The largest crowd in recent festival history took place on Saturday, May 18, opening day of the 46th annual Delaware Arts Festival.
“One of the best days ever,” said festival photographer and committee member Mark Hardymon.
Attendance was estimated at about 15,000-plus visitors. Hardymon noted that Schmidt’s was close to running out of its signature sausage, “Bahama Mamas.”
Opening the festival were the Capital City Bagpipers, who crisply marched up Sandusky Street from William Street to Central Avenue and back to William Street. Two bicycle police officers in front and one following on foot accompanied the band. Some exhibitors expressed how the band was a lively and energetic way to start the festival. The music then continued on stage for everyone’s enjoyment.
The scholarship awards were presented by Judge David Hejmanowski of the Delaware County Probate/Juvenile Court. The two first-place winners were Lauren Cox, of Buckeye Valley High School, and Sophia Reza, of Olentangy Orange High School.
Cox is attending Columbus College of Art and Design in August.
“This scholarship reflects more honor than money to me,” she said. Cox is majoring in illustration.
Reza is also going to CCAD in August, majoring in animation. She said she was elated to have had this scholarship opportunity.
Third place went to Alison Alsup from Delaware Hayes High School. This August, Alsup is attending The Cleveland Institute of Art. Illustration is her major with an eye on becoming a cartoonist/gallery artist.
“This scholarship is a great opportunity for Delaware student artists, and thank you to the scholarship committee,” she said.
Judging the exhibitors were Ann Lehner, a 25-year art teacher at Buckeye Valley High School, and Linda Ringler, a 30-year art teacher with Columbus City Schools. The 174 exhibitors are evaluated on craftsmanship, good design, originality, and presentation. Ringler said, “Artists show a lot of commitment to what their doing and their presentation. It’s nice to talk to artists about their techniques and the public’s response.”
Award-winning exhibitors during this year’s festival included Dreaming Tree Galleries, Rebecca Cummings and Rod McIntyre of Grove City, who took home Best of Show.
In the website artist’s statement, Cummings said “she is intrigued by the passage of time, feelings of nostalgia and the idea of things lost.” Her color photography vividly expresses these feelings in architectural elements, such as an old ornate door or a lone window in an old building’s stone wall.
“I just love old architecture,” she said. “I like details, things people normally don’t see.”
McIntyre’s photography is black and white minimalism.
“I try to make something out of nothing,” he said. “Black and white photography is a challenge.”
The couple has exhibited in front of Buns for 10-12 years.
First place went to Andrea Yagoda, of Beadswork, for her wearable art. Her jewelry is created by beadweaving, bead embroidery and kumihimo, Japanese braiding on a loom. She finds objects she likes, such as natural stone or a piece of Ohio flint, and creates her bead work around it.
“I just like doing it,” she said.
Longtime exhibitor Peachblow Pottery received second place.
Gail Russell, of Sunbury, said this is her 33rd year.
“This is my longest consecutive show ever,” she said. “It’s always enjoyable to be here and connect with old friends.”
According to Russell’s website, she uses an electric potter’s wheel to create her porcelain pottery. She was attracted to porcelain as an undergraduate at Evansville University. Her strongest influences are historical, and the classical lines and glazes of Asian designs.
Sunbury’s Richard Gullett, of Dark Designs, took third place. His pen and ink drawings are based on mythology and are like a puzzle, too.
“I hide animals or symbols inside the drawings,” he said. “Stuff that has meaning.”
Gullett starts with a shape: a fish, lion or Egyptian form, then fills in the shape with whatever his imagination tells him. His background in technical draftsman and doodling led to his present art career.
Honorable mention went to local Delaware photographer Bruce Lindman, of Whatever The Light. Lindman’s subject matter includes nature, buildings, and all things that have beauty.
“I like showing people the beautiful things in the world,” he said.
Two entertainment newcomers to this year’s festival included the Calliope Music Company and Amazing Giants, stilt walkers. Music from the calliope, built by Myron Duffield in 1970, is digitized and now presented by son, Jeff, and his wife, Lorna.
Jeff said the calliope brings back memories to adults past a certain age, and he hopes it makes memories for younger people.
Having traveled most of the USA, the calliope has made stops in Ohio at the Ohio State Fair, Dublin Fourth of July Parade, The Pumpkin Festival, and now the Delaware Arts Festival.
As the calliope website states, “Everyone loves a parade and what would a parade be without a calliope.”
The Amazing Giants, a stilt walking duo, received a warm welcome from festival visitors. The Columbus group was founded in 2011 by Jessica Minshall, a self-taught stilt walker. Entertaining visitors at fairs, festivals and ribbon-cutting ceremonies, the group travels mostly in Ohio and neighboring states. Sherry Riviera, entertainment chairwoman, said the stilt walker’s costumes were beautiful, and they interacted theatrically with the festival crowd.
“Lots of photographs with children and adults,” she said.
As for food choices during the festival, besides the food trucks, local restaurants were booming. One restaurant owner told Riviera his outside seating was full, the inside was full with eating and drinking customers, and people were waiting in line for a seat. Most retail businesses were also humming.
“A big thank you to all the generous sponsors, and the City of Delaware, who worked diligently in the setup and keeping the festival weekend safe for all,” the Delaware Arts Festival Committee stated.