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Port Clinton's downtown art festival ups the ante

John Benson • May 12, 2015 at 6:28 PM

Want to go?

• WHAT: Downtown Arts & Crafts Festival

• WHEN: 10 a.m.-5 p.m. June 11

• WHERE: Downtown Port Clinton

• COST: Free

• INFO: 419-705-3730 or portclintonarts.org

In the past, “no strings attached” was the mindset regarding the Greater Port Clinton Area Arts Council’s free Downtown Arts & Crafts Festival, which takes place June 11 in downtown Port Clinton.

The annual event has mainly been dominated by artists showing off their creative and handcrafted wares. However, this year marks the first time organizers decided to invite an additional artistic element. And there’s no better Americana vibe than that of bluegrass music — another truly local and beautifully handcrafted medium for audiences to take in and enjoy.

“This is the 18th annual event,” said Greater Port Clinton Area Arts Council Secretary Sarah Pietrykowski. “We’re trying to establish Port Clinton as an arts center, so this year we’re adding a new feature to the art festival, doing a bluegrass music festival all day long. We’re trying to open it up to different forms of art and genres. And music is definitely something that we wanted to include. Bluegrass seems to have a growing following, so we wanted to do something a little bit different, bring in a different culture to the entire atmosphere.”

Local acts Ottawa County Bluegrass Band, Deepwater Bluegrass and Lonesome Meadow will be performing. While bluegrass is this year’s theme, Pietrykowski said if you want some metal you have two choices.

“Well, it’s the tail end of Bike Week, so they can probably get the metal if they’re looking for it,” Pietrykowski laughed. “Also, we’re hoping to secure a blacksmith. We’ve had one in the past.”

This year’s Downtown Arts & Crafts Festival boasts roughly 10 artists, typically local, ranging from woodworking and painting to jewelry and pottery.

The latter features Port Clinton’s own pottery wheel wizard Colin Budd. In addition, there will be crafts for kids, a face painter and more for the youth. Looking ahead, Pietrykowski feels the Downtown Arts & Crafts Festival is already showing signs of growth regarding interest in the region.

“What’s interesting about this year is the event has gained a bit of notoriety because people from the Chicago area, from Pennsylvania are participating,” Pietrykowski said. “So the spectrum has grown a little bit.”


In a nutshell, the appeal of the Downtown Arts & Crafts Festival revolves around originality and authenticity. Visitors won’t find any imports or commercially made items, so this is perhaps one of the only places where you won’t see a “Made in China” sticker.


More so, as far as the crafts are concerned, organizers promise you won’t find any milk jugs transformed into bird feeders or 2-liter bottle wind chimes.


“Not that that’s not a good thing, but we tried over the years to kind of up the ante a little bit,” Pietrykowski said.


So that means no glue-gun crafts.


Laughed Pietrykowski, “Not unless they’re really phenomenal with the glue gun.”


The Downtown Arts & Crafts Festival takes place from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. June 11 in downtown Port Clinton. For more information, call 419-705-3730 or visit portclintonarts.org.

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