Arts in the Alley
Damp start clears for beautiful city festival
It certainly didn't rain on David Riddle's parade at the Arts in the Alley Music and Arts Festival.
"I got a bookmark," the 5-year-old Grove City resident said.
On Saturday and Sunday, Sept. 21-22, the Grove City Area Chamber of Commerce hosted the 34th annual Arts in the Alley in the city's historic Town Center.
The event featured more than 100 juried arts and crafts exhibitors, several musical acts and a variety of food vendors.
The event kicked off with a parade Saturday morning in the rain that featured 160 participant vehicles and floats, though by the afternoon the weather had cleared to what Allen Houk called a "beautiful fall day."
"We had some real troopers out there," said Houk, president of the chamber's board of directors. "This was the largest number we've hard in the parade pre-registered."
Chamber officials said they hoped to attract more than 40,000 people over the course of the two-day festival. This year, the chamber advertised outside of Grove City, Houk said.
"I don't know how many cities with a festival like this close their downtown streets," he said. "It really helps keep the perception of being a hometown community."
Kayla Riddle, David's mother, said their family comes to the festival every year to walk around. She said she's been attending for about five years and her husband about 20.
"We love it," she said. "We like to get out, and we know a lot of the people here."
Houk said the chamber as usual received a great deal of help from the city to set up and run the festival, calling the city "kind of a quiet partner."
That partnership included setting up barricades for the parade, housing supplies in city buildings and using space in City Hall and Mayor's Court room for art galleries.
"We're glad to help," said Deputy City Administrator Bill Vedra. "It's an event that helps with the quality of life in the community ... (and) we're glad to be a part of it."
While people such as the Riddles have been coming to Arts in Alley for years, some, such as Jack and Nancy Craig, were there for the first time. The Craigs, who came from the Cincinnati area, said they enjoyed the art and music.
"There's a lot of things going on here," Jack Craig said.
"It's a beautiful, little town," Nancy Craig said. "The people are so friendly."