ArtsFest wraps up
Saturday's sunny, warm weather and solid turnout carried over into the second day of Athens ArtsFest.
The festivities continued Sunday with live bands performing on three stages and judges making their choices for best in thirteen categories in the event's juried art show. About 140 artisans participated in this year's festival, the most the show has seen in its 14 years, organizers said.
ArtsFest committee members continued to observe a strong crowd of attendees Sunday. The festival generally attracts thousands each year, but this year may be the biggest yet, organizers said.
"It feels like there are more people here this year than in past years," said committee member Karen Whyte.
The festival has grown from a small senior project in 1999 to a grand festival with about 10 times as many vendors, said volunteer John Baird.
The growth in attendance over the years "is amazing," Baird said. "The committee has fine-tuned what works, what doesn't work, and the weather helps."
In addition to artist displays, student groups and local organizations had a strong presence at the festival to raise money and awareness for their causes.
Athens Area High School students Molly Wolanski, Brittany Hajduga and Arianna Crawford made T-shirts, clay items and other crafts to support Heifer International, which provides animals to families in need to fight hunger and poverty.
The three decided to raise money for the organization because they "wanted to support animals and people," Wolanski said. "After a bit of research, we decided on Heifer International."
The girls had raised about $150 through the sale of their merchandise, plus additional money collected in a donation jar, by Sunday afternoon.
The Bridge of the Penn-York Valley Churches held a benefit bake sale to support its mission to help Valley-area families in need, and the Valley Business Women's Network sold tickets for a basket raffle to benefit its scholarship programs.
The high school's history club held a basket raffle as well, with proceeds going toward an upcoming trip to New York City, and the Science Olympiad team held a Chinese auction.
The Che-Hanna Rock and Mineral Club's Junior Rockhounds were also well-represented at ArtsFest, with club members joining president Inga Wells to sell items they made at recent meetings.
The club sold painted and decorated rocks and small pony toys as a fundraiser, some decorated with the upcoming Mother's Day holiday in mind. One club member also made key fobs out of duct tape, a new offering this year.
Amanda Renko can be reached at (570) 888-9652; or email: firstname.lastname@example.org.