Central Pennsylvania Festival of the Arts: Kids showcase talents

cmccracken@centredaily.comJuly 10, 2014 

Before the adult artisans of the Central Pennsylvania Festival of the Arts assemble their booths, local children command the streets of downtown State College.

Stretching from Allen Street to the Old Main lawn on the Penn State campus, Wednesday’s Children and Youth Day sidewalk sale featured a wide variety of crafts and crafters.

Artists ages 8 to 18 who live or have relatives in Blair, Centre, Clearfield, Clinton, Huntingdon, Mifflin and Union counties are eligible to be vendors.

Julie Breon, 9, sold an assortment of objects, including wands, crowns, necklaces, flip-flops and solar lanterns.

“It took me the whole year. I started making all of it after last year’s festival,” Julie said. “My favorite part is all the kids who walk by smiling.”

Kyle Cunningham, 9, offered a unique creation to the sale: goat milk soap.

To create his product, Kyle mixes goat milk with lye and a variety of oils, then adds colors and scents to the soap.

“We have a business online ( www.whitetaillanefarm.com), but this is the first year we’re selling it at Arts Fest,” Kyle said. “I own and take care of the goats that we use for it. I really like making the soap and then selling it.”

For 12-year-old Girl Scouts Melody Sharp, Erieni Parides and Taylor Gonet, their booth at the festival was more than a creative adventure.

“We made a bunch of random crafts and all of the profits are going to PAWS,” Erieni said. “We’re doing this for our Silver Award.”

The collection included jewelry, cards, and painted rocks and canvases.

“We made the canvases by putting cats’ feet in paint, then having them walk across it,” Melody said.

The Girl Scouts are raising money to buy metal litter boxes for PAWS because they are the most sterile kind, Melody said.

Alex’s Bow Shop was another attraction among the multitude of vendors.

Alex Straka, 11, carefully demonstrated how her bows worked to each interested customer and offered to specialize the bows with pink camouflage tape.

“We saw a dude at the Boalsburg fest and it inspired me to make my own bows,” Alex said. “I think it’s fun to try to sell stuff. It pays off for the effort of making them.”

Cade Fortney, 14, got his inspiration for specialized bird feeders from an online source.

“My mom always looks for cool things on Pinterest,” Cade said, “and then she found these teacup bird feeders, so I decided to do it.”

Cade’s creation is teacups and saucers glued to the top of a long pole, serving as a holder for food and water.

“You can put water in the teacup, then sprinkle food around on the saucer,” Cade said.

A majority of the vendors have been selling at the festival for a few years, and siblings Savannah and Davy Welsch, both 18, are experienced crafters. The twins have been selling their wooden shields, swords, axes and daggers for eight years.

“My favorite part of selling at the festival is sharing my art with the world,” Davy Welsch said.

Other festivalgoers enjoyed tents offering free activities such as face painting, educational opportunities and science experiments.

Madisyn Breon, 6, enjoyed her first children’s day by experimenting in the music tent provided by Robert M. Sides.

“I played the trumpet and the violin,” Madisyn said. “It was my first time and I did very good with the violin.”

As the day warmed up, children cooled off under the water buckets on Allen Street.

“It splashes me and feels good,” Harper Sedlock, 5, said as her younger sister tugged her toward the water. “My favorite part of Arts Fest is the buckets.”

On stage near the buckets, Mikayla Irvin, 11, played her violin with other children from the State College Suzuki program, an independent teacher co-op offering music lessons.

“I liked playing the violin in front of people,” Mikayla said. “I’ve been playing since I was 5.”

The art displays and performances will continue through the weekend as the youths surrender the festival to older artisans.

Casey McCracken can be reached at 231-4646. Follow her on Twitter @ CMcCrackenNews.

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