This year will be the fourth that Perry Rearick sells his landscapes, Penn State prints and other art photography to a crowd at the annual Bellefonte Arts and Crafts Fair.
“I think organizers get a really good choice of vendors — jewelry, arts and crafts, all kinds of things,” said Rearick, who owns Perry’s Prints Photography in Bellefonte. “I do very well there. I like being in my hometown.”
Rearick will have plenty of company this year, with a record number — more than 100 — artists and food vendors participating in the event, set for this weekend at Talleyrand Park. It’s the fourth year that the event has been held there.
“I like that they moved it down to the park. I think a lot more people love the scenery, trees and the stream,” Rearick said. “I think visitors do a lot of shopping at the park and throughout downtown, also. I think it’s as good as the People’s Choice Festival. We have many local artists.”
All but eight of the exhibitors and vendors listed on the event’s roster this year are from Pennsylvania. People’s Choice Festival of Pennsylvania Arts and Crafts organizers claim to draw only craftspeople from throughout the state.
Organizers at the Bellefonte event were able to grow the number of artists and exhibitors organically, fair director Debbie Hamilton said. This year’s list includes artisans such as metal workers, painters, jewelry crafters, woodworkers, potters, textile artists and more.
“For a lot of our artists, it is word of mouth,” she said. “We also do advertising with our guide, and that’s all over the state. We’re well-received. The biggest thing is, we take care of our artists.”
Hamilton said the event organizers have ambassadors, who make bank runs to get change, help the exhibitors lug boxes or sit in on booths while the artists take breaks.
A new setup should allow visitors to be more often surrounded by the variety of handiwork for sale, she added.
“We have most of our returning favorites coming back as well as new, exciting artists coming,” she said.
Event organizers will move children’s activities to the center of the park’s back circle for better navigation. They also will set up a stage in the hub of activity and will feature a variety of live music.
“This year, it’s going to really be a good walking path with artists all around,” Hamilton said.
Children’s activities include a Dominion Science Center display with hands-on educational opportunities, and a collection of interactive exhibits and programs by Discovery Space of Central Pennsylvania designed to provide informal science education. New for kids this year is a magic show by Uncle “B’s” Magic and Balloon Creations. That show is set for 10:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. Aug. 15 and 10:30 a.m. Aug. 16 . Another popular event is the Youth Artists show Aug. 16.
Hamilton, who has been involved with the fair for 20 years, said good volunteers are an integral part of helping the event — part of the Historic Bellefonte, Inc. umbrella — be a continued success.
“We have good volunteers, plus very strong networking and support from the borough and downtown,” she said. “People like that it is family-oriented. They can come, spend a day, have some good food. The children can play. They can meet their friends and often look for the same artists every year. It’s a very nice time, but it’s also about relationships.”
Organizers also work to include downtown merchants with a “Downtown Bellefonte” area of the event to showcase local businesses and nonprofit organizations, Hamilton said.
Schedule of events
Main Stage• 10:30 a.m: Second Winds Jazz Band
• noon: Allegria Ensemble
• 1:30 p.m.: Jay Vonada Quartet
• 3 p.m.: Erin Condo and the Hoofties
• 4 p.m.: Award ceremony
• 5 p.m.: Pure Cane Sugar
• 7 p.m.: Body and Soul
Gazebo• 10:30 a.m.: Scott Mangene
• noon: Doug Irwin
• 2 p.m.: J Mac and Junior
• 4 p.m.: Cliff Turner Band
Main Stage• 10:30 a.m.: Callanish
• noon: JP Rocks
• 1:30 p.m.: Natascha and the Spy Boys
• 3 p.m.: Bellefonte Community Band
• 4:30 p.m.: Keystone Society of Swing
Gazebo• 10 a.m.: Steve Garner
• 11:30 a.m.: Strait and Miller
• 2:30 p.m.: Tussey Mountain Moonshiners