Eagles Mere Arts & Crafts Festival held over the weekend: More than 3,000 attended, says organizer
EAGLES MERE -
David Webster knows what it's like to be in charge of a big festival attended by thousands of people, but this weekend, he was just another vendor selling his wares in Eagles Mere.
The man behind the annual Athens ArtsFest was at the 44th Annual Arts & Crafts Festival on the Village Green in Eagles Mere, as a vendor with his Sayre-based pottery business.
He was one of many juried artisans and craftspeople at the event, and one of several from Bradford County.
"This is a lot more relaxing, not as stressful," he said of being a vendor.
Instead of worrying about everyone else's products - as he does when overseeing the Athens ArtsFest - he said the only thing that he had to be concerned about this weekend was his own items.
He said his sales were going well, adding that the nice weather helped the event.
The vendors' artwork on display at the juried show was of good quality, he added. His items included a punch bowl set.
Webster said he will be selling his pottery next at a show in Lancaster. The Eagles Mere festival was his tenth show, as a vendor, this year.
Debbie Lutz, from the Troy area, was another vendor from Bradford County at the Eagles Mere festival.
She and her sister, Barb Barrett, were making handmade brooms with their business, The Pennsylvania Broom Closet.
"Yesterday was a very good day for us; today is not bad," Lutz said of their business on Sunday. "The weather is beautiful. It's a beautiful show."
She said customers were happy with the brooms, which she and her sister make with an 1890s vintage broom-making apparatus.
"They're the best," she said of the brooms. "They last."
"I think they're marvelous," said Robin Holmes of Virginia, who bought three.
Barrett, of Lock Haven, said people like to see them make the brooms.
"That's the reason we do it, to keep an old craft alive."
In their brochure, they noted that broom making in the United States was active until around the 1950s. At that time, they said, the government took the tariff off imported brooms.
The handle on one of their brooms was a deer's foot.
"They create very interesting discussions," Barrett commented.
Another vendor from Bradford County, Jeff Palmer of Mosherville, was selling his one-of-a-kind handcrafted hardwood salad bowls, cutting boards, and other items. His business, featuring his lathe designs, is called Aspen Ridge Wood Works.
"Everyone is usually drawn to the natural edge bowls," he said. "They like the shape and that there is still bark left on that."
"It always adds something to a room, when you have a wooden bowl. You can't beat Mother Nature, the colors of the grains and the swirls of the woods."
A visitor at his booth, Charlotte Ranck of Lancaster County, agreed.
"I like the grains, the way they're finished," she said.
Another Bradford County vendor, Cliff Rigby of Troy, was selling his end grain chopping blocks, with his business, simply called "Rigby."
In making his chopping blocks, he said that he uses primarily cherry, maple, and black walnut wood.
He also uses some exotic hardwoods.
According to Rigby, his chopping blocks are done in a checker board or game board style.
"All my designs are random, what comes out, comes out," he said.
Alan Sigler, a summer resident of Eagles Mere, was impressed by Rigby's items.
"It's gorgeous, just the quality of the work," he said.
Dave Lutzkanin, owner of Windy Hill Woodturning of Rome, was another vendor from Bradford County at the show.
A customer, Shaun Antram, bought a bottle opener from him.
He liked that it was hand-made and large.
"I'll be able to find this, because it's big."
In addition, Antram bought his 82-year-old mother-in-law, who he said is from Berlin, Germany, a broom with a turkey leg handle, next door at Lutz' and Barrett's booth.
"She has a wry sense of humor, I thought she would get a kick out of it," he said.
Two visitors, Evan and Linda Williams of Troy, were looking over the hand-turned wooden bowls at Mountain Bowl Works of Laporte.
Evan Williams thought the festival was well-attended and the items were of high quality.
"This is quite a place," he said.
Sam Wylie of Laporte, who makes the bowls, noted that he tries to do "a lot of art forms."
He said one of his more difficult pieces, partly due to the angle he had to work with, was an item representing a Native American seed bowl. Native Americans used the bowls to keep seeds for planting the next spring, he said.
On Sunday, the band, Rustical Quality String Band, performed.
According to the event manager, Kristin Montgomery, more than 3,000 people attended the festival over the weekend. She said the festival had the highest number of vendors this year, over the last couple years.
The Eagles Mere Historic Village, Inc. sponsors the festival, and makes contributions from the event to the Eagles Mere Conservancy, the Eagles Mere Friends of the Arts, and the Eagles Mere Museum.
Eric Hrin can be reached at (570) 297-5251; email: email@example.com.