The Delaware Arts Festival will return to downtown Delaware for the 45th year Saturday and Sunday, May 19-20, but hungry art lovers will find the eats in a new location.

In recent years, food vendors were on East Winter Street. This year, they'll be on South Sandusky Street, said arts festival board President Linda Shearer.

"This will give them more space, more room to set up tables and chairs," she said, adding the move also should help bring foot traffic to South Sandusky Street merchants.

Mark Hardymon, the festival's liaison with the city, said this year's event will have about 194 booths -- and all have been booked.

"We're ready to go," he said.

Hardymon said among the exhibitors, 13 states are represented in addition to Ohio, Shearer said.

They are Arizona, California, Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Maryland, Missouri, New York, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Texas and Virginia.

"It's like a marriage -- a blend of a nice selection of arts and crafts exhibitors and community support," Shearer said. "We wouldn't get those artists without that local public support. (Exhibitors) pay a fee for a booth and have to stay overnight. It has to be financially worth their while."

Other support includes that of Ohio Wesleyan University alumni, she said, and the city participates "in a great way, as far as putting up the banners and closing the streets."

Sandusky Street will be closed from Spring Street to Central Avenue, and Winter Street will be closed between Sandusky and Franklin streets during the event.

Festival hours are 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. May 19 and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. May 20.

Money raised from the booth fees is used to fund local scholarships and grants.

This year, $20,000 in scholarships will be given to the students who finish in the first three places in the visual-arts competition, Shearer said.

First place is $8,000, second place is $6,500 and third place is $5,500, with each award spread evenly over four years.

First-, second- and third-place ribbons and cash prizes will be awarded in painting, drawing, photography, ceramics, computer games, jewelry, sculpture and mixed media.

The arts festival also will provide $10,000 in grants to schools to help buy items that aren't covered by district budgets, Shearer said.

They include kilns, looms, cameras and green screens -- "things students can use for several years."

Schools go through an application process to qualify for the grants.

Scheduled arts-festival events and musical acts include:

May 19

* 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., Sawmill Ridge Bluegrass Band

* 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., Central Ohio Symphony Drum Circle (in front of City Hall)

* 1 to 1:30 p.m., scholarship awards

* 1:30 to 3 p.m., Angel Highsteppers Baton Exhibition (in front of Opa's)

* 2:30 to 4 p.m., Mark Sparrow

* 3 to 4:30 p.m., Boardman Arts Park painting (by Clancy's)

* 4 to 5:15 p.m., Ruffing Martial Arts exhibition (in front of Honey & Abernathy)

* 5 to 7 p.m., Project 75 Band

May 20

* 10 to 11:30 a.m., Capital City Bagpipe Band

* 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. In a Jam

* 1 to 2:15 p.m., Jungle Gym gymnastic exhibition (in front of Honey & Abernathy)

* 2 to 4 p.m., Boardman Arts Park painting (by City Hall)

* 3 to 4 p.m., Magic Nate (Winter and Sandusky streets)

* 2 to 3:30 p.m., Goodnight Goodnight

In addition, the festival sponsors an annual high school art exhibit at the Delaware County District Library.

The show is open to all high schools in the county. Ribbons and cash prizes are awarded for eight categories, plus best of show, and a best-of-school award is given to a student at each of the county's high schools.

Donations from the festival's sponsors cover the event's expenses, Shearer said. Expenses include security on the streets, a hospitality house for exhibitors, insurance and renting a generator for food vendors.

For more information, visit delawareartsfestival.org.

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