Lewisburg Arts Festival returning on Saturday

Apr. 25—jstrawser@dailyitem.com

LEWISBURG — At least 10,000 people are expected to visit Lewisburg for the 2024 Lewisburg Arts Festival on Saturday.

The 2024 Lewisburg Arts Festival, which is free and open to the public, will take place along Market Street between Front and Seventh streets from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday. The festival will feature 119 artists and 44 food and beverage vendors.

"It really kicks off the spring festival celebrations," said Lewisburg Arts Council President Della Hutchison. "We are early in the season. There's not many outdoor events before this year. People like coming out after a long winter. Chances are you can't go half a block without seeing someone you know. It's a great meet up spot and a really fun social time."

The Lewisburg Arts Festival started in 1968 in the parking lot of M&T Bank at Fourth and Market streets and grew to the size it is today. The 50th event was held in 2019, but it was not held in 2020 and 2021 due to COVID-19. It takes more than 100 volunteers to bring this festival to life.

"You can literally spend an entire day here and not get bored," said Hutchison. "Not only are there nearly 120 artists and nearly 50 food vendors, we have entertainment and petting zoos and free balloons and non-profits to check out."

Fourteen different styles of art are featured from 119 artists: artisanal food, bath and body, caricatures, ceramics and pottery, clothing, digital art, drawing, food and beverages, furniture, glass, home and garden, information, jewelry, leather, metal, mixed media, musical instruments, painting, photography, textiles/fiber and wood. Half of the vendors are local and half are returning vendors from seven states, including New York, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, and Ohio. A director of vendors can be found on the festival's website at https://lewisburgartscouncil.com/lewisburg-arts-festival.

The festival is juried by a panel of artists to ensure the highest quality and broadest appeal. The jurors score each applicant anonymously based on quality of craft, artistic merit, artistic theme, innovation, and presentation. This system keeps the Festival interesting, innovative, and fresh, said Hutchison.

This year's theme, "Art in Focus," is captured by featured artist Robert Haefner, a photographer who enjoys creating images of natural and man-made environments. Most of his work is landscape and wildlife.

"I am honored to be the featured artist this year," said Haefner. "It was a surprise when I was notified. I never thought that others took notice of my work and even more humbling to know that they did and nominated me for the featured artist. My hope is that everyone who visits the gallery to see my photos finds something that they can enjoy."

The festival is a "great way for artists to showcase their work to the community," Haefner added. "It also shows people that there are many ways to express themselves through art."

Haefner said he looks at his involvement in the festival as an ambassador for the Lewisburg Arts Council.

"I'm there to help promote involvement in the arts," he said. "Hopefully, my photography demonstrates another art form that people can take part in."

Haefner's exhibition will be at the Gallery, 15 N. Water St., Lewisburg, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., with an opportunity to meet Haefner from 1 to 3 p.m. The Gallery is located in the former Packwood House, which is now the headquarters of the Lewisburg Arts Council.

"Robert is a great storyteller," said Hutchison. "Every single photograph has a great story. He's more than willing to tell all the backstories."

The Gallery will also have demonstrations and displays from the Susquehanna Spinners and Weavers Guild from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. The Union County Historical Society will also have a live privy dig and 400-piece exhibition at the gallery and courtyard, hosted by Robert E. Lee III at 1 p.m.

The kids will love the free petting zoo, courtesy of Ashburn's Animals, at Hufnagle Park. The day is brimming with fun for all ages, featuring balloon art by Air Weaver Balloons, hands-on activities from 19 local nonprofits at the Interactive Arts area along South Sixth Street.

Live entertainment will also be at the M&T Bank parking lot and the Hufnalge Park's new main stage and amphitheater.

Shuttles are provided by the Susquehanna River Valley Visitors Bureau. There is a shuttle at 101 Hafer Road that transports visitors as well as a downtown shuttle loop.

Other sponsors include Geisinger, M&T Bank, Jersey Shore State Bank, UPMC, Evangelical Community Hospital, Susquehanna Community Bank, HRG, Lawton Insurance, Village Realty Inc., Service Electric Cablevision and McCann School of Business and Technology. Evangelical is sponsoring the Comfort Stations and McCann is sponsoring the Community Commons for local nonprofits.

"We are grateful to all our sponsors who bring this festival to the community," said Hutchison. "It's something people look forward to all year long."

More information can be found at https://lewisburgartscouncil.com/lewisburg-arts-festival and on the festival's Facebook page.