Fiddler and vocalist Laura Orshaw, who grew up in Athens Borough, has received enthusiastic reviews in nationally circulated music magazines.

For example, a review in "Bluegrass Unlimited" stated that Orshaw is "an extremely talented musician with unlimited potential," while a reviewer in "Sing Out!" magazine wrote the she is "that rare player who certainly has the chops, but also plays with great emotion and drive."

On Saturday, 25-year-old Orshaw performed in a bluegrass band at ArtsFest, accompanied by three professional musicians from Nashville, Tenn., and Boston, Mass.

Orshaw used to perform at ArtsFest when she was a student at Athens High, said her father, Mark Orshaw of Athens. Today, Laura Orshaw lives in Cambridge, Mass., and performs regularly in the Boston area while also working at Fisher University as the coordinator of a music and art therapy program for handicapped individuals, her father said.

ArtsFest, which continues today from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Harlan Rowe Middle School in Athens, features a variety of live bands, 140 juried artists and crafters, a food court, pony rides and other kids' activities, a petting zoo and much more.

Organizers said early Saturday afternoon that they expected that if the good weather holds, there will be a record attendance this year at the two-day, 14-year-old festival.

Word of mouth is a big reason for the growth of ArtsFest, which now attracts somewhere in the area of 30,000 people a year, organizers said.

Compared to last year, there are more 20 more juried artists and crafters displaying their work this year at the festival, a record number for ArtsFest, organizer Phil Crouse said.

One of the people exhibiting his work at ArtsFest this year is photographer Andy D. Wheeler of Elmira, N.Y., who was featured this year in WSKG-TV's "Artist Cafe" program. The TV program which featured him was shown on public television stations across the country, he said.

Wheeler, who is in his late 40s, has an interest in photographing abandoned buildings and sites of ruin and decay, according to a brochure about his work.

One of the Wheeler's photos that is on display at ArtsFest, titled "Spinning Fire," was one of the 91 winning photos selected by former "Happy Days" actor and movie director Ron Howard and a public vote, as part of "Project Imagination," Wheeler said.

Ten films, inspired by winning photographs in Project Imagination, will be released in November in New York City, he said.

James Loewenstein can be reached at (570) 265-1633; or email: