UA's Labor Day Arts Festival marks 47 years
An annual celebration of creativity and imagination returns to Upper Arlington Sept. 2 when the Upper Arlington Labor Day Arts Festival unfolds at Northam Park.
Established by Upper Arlington artists in 1966 and held in subsequent years in various city parks, the Upper Arlington Labor Day Arts Festival has become a highly organized event.
In 1983, the Upper Arlington Cultural Arts Division adopted the festival, and in 1986, it permanently relocated the event to Northam Park, 2070 Northam Road.
Despite the changes and exponential growth -- it now boasts more than 20,000 attendees and close to 200 artists from throughout the United States and beyond -- the festival remains true to its origins. It still presents the arts to the community at large while providing artists with a venue to showcase and sell their work.
"The Upper Arlington Labor Day Arts Festival is a free, temporary alfresco gallery and interactive art space celebrating its 47th year at Northam Park," said Lynette Santoro-Au, Upper Arlington's cultural arts manager. "This is a juried event with art experts from our community and beyond helping to shape the art opportunities presented.
"It's the only event held in our community that provides an opportunity for the community to gather and experience the arts."
This year's festival will be held from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sept. 2 at Northam Park. Billed as a "pet-friendly" event, it's being sponsored by Farmers Citizens Bank.
Because the art show is juried, all performers, artists and vendors apply to participate and must be invited by the event's coordinating committee.
National and international artists representing 20 different mediums will be featured. Santoro-Au said attendees will have opportunities to purchase anything from yard art and oil paintings to wearable art and traditional crafts. Live and interactive art demonstrations and exhibits are also planned.
The Upper Arlington High School Marching Band will kick off the festival with a performance at 10 a.m., and a variety of local musicians and other performers will man two stages throughout the day.
Per tradition, festival visitors also will have the chance to play tic-tac-toe on a 75-foot grass mural.
"Explore art installations like balloon figures and Memory Boats, a site-specific installation including images and stories collected from the history of our community," Santoro-Au said. "The boats will inhabit space in our community as they gradually disintegrate, becoming part of our community's memory.
"Explore your inner artist in our Arts Activities Area, featuring nearly two dozen interactive art activities. Patrons of all ages will participate in art endeavors like print-making, ceramics, paper-making, drum-making and drama. You can also paint your hand and leave your imprint on a UA snow plow."
As for the culinary arts, selections ranging from kettle corn and gourmet pizza to vegetarian fare will be available from 24 different vendors.
Santoro-Au added that attendees themselves can become part of the festival through a myriad of volunteer opportunities. In addition to assisting with the event and its visitors, all volunteers receive an event T-shirt for their efforts.
Additional information is available at www.uaoh.net/artsfestival.