It’s time for that end of summer favorite show, Lansdale Festival of the Arts.
This event is dear to my heart – I’ve been participating for about 25 years and I love to return to the show each August. It’s held in a lovely shady park and the assortment of artists is high-quality. Something will grab your attention!
If you are in the area, stop by and enjoy a nice way to spend a late-summer day. The poster below gives the information as to time and location. I’ll be showing my acrylic paintings.
If it is July it is time for this long-running festival. In addition to the extensive art/craft selection they offer a variety of musical performances, demonstrations, and kids’ activities. Plus an art show in the barn, a silent auction, and book/white elephant sale. You can spend a whole day here, very easily, and maybe come back the next day, too. Just saying.
Next weekend I’ll be at this festival in Hellertown, PA, just outside Bethlehem, PA. I’ve done it before and it’s a nice spot – compact and yet with plenty to do, in a garden-like setting. If you are in the area, I hope you will stop in! I’ll be showing my paintings.
Well, everyone, this festival is history, and a nice memory it has turned out to be. Let me tell you about it.
The event is put on by the Community Arts Center, Wallingford, PA, but is held in the downtown section of Swarthmore, PA, just down the road. Swarthmore is a small borough and home of Swarthmore College – the downtown is not large but is enticingly full of shops and The idea is that you unload and then move the car out of the way. So we did, and got busy setting things up.
The weather was perfect, more like summer than early fall. Things at this stage of a show are quiet but everyone is moving. That’s a friend of mine carrying a painting down the street to his booth.
The raffle tent gets dressed in a purple skirt.
We got things done and ready to go.
Things always start off quietly but this show picked up speed quickly.
Here are some shots of my location. My husband is great at handling things when I am away from the booth. I am grateful for his help and his presence. Many people do not have a spouse or partner to help them and doing a show by yourself is hard work.
We were located very near the music. My favorite was a group called SwUkestra. Or – the Swarthmore Ukulele Orchestra. As the leader said, the best ukulele orchestra in Swarthmore. Well, I’m a fan. They played and sang a variety of selections, including “Unchain My Heart”, a favorite that I sang along with. Loved it.
Well, things wound down as we got near closing time.
At 5 PM we packed up. Here are a few of our possessions waiting to go into the car. The box with a couple of spaces – that’s a good thing, because it means – sales!
So that’s the report. The CAC put on a very well-organized show, pleasant to attend. They always do and it’s a pleasure to be in it. I saw several people I knew and had a lot of fun. Until next year!
We participated in this show on Saturday, August 26. I’ve done this show for two decades and it has been held in Memorial Park under the trees for the past 29 years. It’s a short drive, about 25 minutes, from our house.
I feel at home in this show. It was one of the first ones I did when I started in my art career. The same people run it as did back then; they are unfailingly pleasant, helpful, and genuinely love the show and their work.
The event is naturally popular, then, and they get a nice group of artists showing 2D and 3D art.
Plus, it’s a Lansdale tradition to have free doughnuts and coffee for the artists, to keep us going as we set up. Here is a photo. It is dedicated to my friend Diane, who has moved out of state but did the show with me in the past.
We arrived a little before 8 AM. Now, this show has a different way of assigning spaces – the cars line up and are given a space in the order they arrive; the park fills up in an orderly way. We used to worry about getting a “good” spot and arriving very early. Now, we have realized every spot in the park is “good” and we just show up when we show up.
Here, we’ve dropped off the equipment and art at the spot, #79. The green cone (you can barely see ours peeking over the stack of wrapped art) goes in the middle of the space. You can see we get a lot of room. Another great thing about this show.
We did our usual routine and got the booth put together. The pink tags designate the pieces that I have chosen for the judge to view. No prize this year, but I did get nice comments and encouragement. That matters, believe me.
Set-up time is focused and not social.
Once everything is done, there is time to talk. My husband is the man in the pale blue shirt, talking to a neighbor artist.
Then, things get started. It’s quiet at first:
Later in the day, it was crowded. We had a nice number of people in the park.
Sales were decent and the weather was superlative. I also had the chance to catch up with some art friends, including one man I haven’t seen in a couple of years – our schedules just haven’t coincided.
All in all, it was a perfect festival day. Thank you, Lansdale Festival of the Arts!
The event poster tells you all you need to know, but I’ll add my bit – the festival is one of my favorites, I’ve been going to it for a couple of decades, and the same nice people at the Lansdale Borough parks and rec department who were running it in the 1990’s are still doing so. (The poster image was done by one of them.)
The show is held in a shady park and it’s easy to navigate, and it always attracts a lot of good art and craft. If you are around, it is a great late-summer event to attend and I will welcome you.
We participated in this show on Saturday, June 17. Normally held in the park, the anticipated weather problems necessitated a move indoors, to the Masonic Temple right across the street.
Glad we were inside, as it did rain hard in the morning and off and on all day. I hate being out in the rain at a show. I do hate it.
Nonetheless, things were chaotic in getting set up, with everyone having to figure out the new layout, find their space, and haul items up and down stairs. Additionally, this is the first year for a new set of show organizers – the previous ones (30 years) having passed the baton. It all turned out fine and I give everyone compliments for adapting and making things really nice.
OK. So we had a spot in the lobby, right at the front door. Couldn’t have asked for a better one.
I stepped outside during setup for a minute. Setup is a time when everyone is focused on their own booth, and each artist has a routine for getting things put together. Not a lot of talking or socializing during this part of the show, just a lot of activity.
Once we were set up, I took a look around. The Masonic Temple, built in the 1920’s, is a registered historic site, and what a wonderful building it is. It houses the meeting rooms for Masonic functions as well as some office space. The whole place is solid, well-built, enduring – tile floor in the lobby, much wood trim, marble stairs. Just wonderful.
Artists and crafters were set up in the main meeting space:
and in the less formal room below it:
Once we got in and were settled, the day went well. The venue worked just perfectly and I think the indoor location encouraged people to stay and wander around (always good for sales), since they did not have to worry about the weather. There was a good vibe – the closer quarters encouraged more conversation, a nice hum of activity.
I caught up with some art friends – when you do shows, there is a fellow-feeling among the exhibitors and you make friends, staying in touch from show to show. This year, the show was bittersweet for me. There have been losses in the last year for people I know here; illness and death, sadness and grief. I reflected on how many years I have been doing shows, and once again I understand that now I’m one of the people whose memories encompass events that seem from another world, almost, and involve people who are no longer with us.
For me, this show was different from how it had been in the past, and I don’t mean the temporary location disruption, but the feel of it, and it made me sad. But, as I watched the new group of organizers coping with the unexpected and feeling good about putting on a successful show, well, I remember that life is a flow and it always goes on. I will adapt, too.
Yesterday, Saturday, June 3, I participated in this festival, held on the grounds of the Heller Homestead and put on by the Saucon Valley Conservancy. The event was held in Hellertown, south of Bethlehem, PA, about an hour from my house.
The show featured about 50 artists with booths set in the grassy area surrounding the house and in the gravel parking lot. I did this show two years ago but did not attend last year. It’s a new show – 2015 was its first year.
We drove to the show in rain. I was not happy. I’ve vowed to avoid doing shows in the rain any more, but the weather forecast was for clearing later in the morning. I crossed my fingers.
We arrived. It was pouring.
We were directed to our spot. Knowing the site from my earlier attendance, I asked for a space up near the front. Here is a show tip – you don’t want a space that is hard to access with the car. Setting up is not usually the problem – many shows, like this one, assign arrival times to keep congestion down. But when the show is over, and you want to go home, being able to bring the car in close to your space, when you want to, becomes important.
There is nothing good about having your booth all taken down but being unable to get your car nearby to pack up because – your neighbors’ cars are already in the way or you are blocked by the displays of people who take down more slowly than you do. Hard feelings can erupt when people are tired…
My space was right up front, on the gravel. In this kind of weather, the thing to do is get the tent set up and put everything else underneath it. Anything not water-proof has to stay off the ground.
It’s not easy to set up in these conditions. The things you want are always stacked underneath everything else. Trying to keep things dry is a challenge. The ground itself can be a hazard. Our neighbors’ spot was muddy and sloppy. The show organizers were ready, though – they had bales of straw on hand to scatter around. I am allergic to straw, so I didn’t ask for any in my space. At shows, you just have to take what comes as it comes.
Well, we got things set up and without too much ill-temper. Having a corner space, I had extra display room. I appreciated that as I could hang two large paintings I recently did. There is not always enough room for paintings this size. They take up a lot of sales space.
Then, around 10 AM, the weather started to improve.
By the afternoon, well, we were in a different world, it seemed.
To top it off, I received an Honorable Mention for my work.
Packing up was a breeze and we were on our way home 45 minutes after the show ended.
This show had it all as far as weather experiences. But we got through it.
And I’ll take this time to say the volunteers were unfailingly cheerful and helpful, the show was very nicely run, there was a good selection of artists, and my show neighbors were pleasant to be with. (I traded a small painting for some tiny clay bowls with my neighbor across from me.) Sales were also good and the crowd appreciative. So, maybe a rough start but a good end to things. That’s a the way for it to be.