The golden anniversary of Upper Arlington's Labor Day Arts Festival is proof that the annual event has stood the test of time.

The golden anniversary of Upper Arlington's Labor Day Arts Festival is proof that the annual event has stood the test of time.

The 50th installment of the festival will unfold from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday, Sept. 5, in Northam Park.

The event, started in 1966 by local artist Don Dodrill, was shuffled to various Upper Arlington parks in subsequent years. That it's still around says something about the dedication of local artists and community.

That it now draws more than 25,000 people and features around 200 artists from throughout the U.S. and beyond speaks volumes about how artists and arts enthusiasts view the festival.

"When I got started coming 31 years ago, it was a festival I attended as a patron because I so loved the arts and it was very professionally put on," said Sonja Sheriff, an Upper Arlington resident. She is a metalsmith and jeweler who exhibits at the festival.

"Through the years, we've seen the show grow absolutely exponentially in quality and attendance and in the artists who participate," Sheriff said. "This is known by artists and those who attend as one of the best one-day shows in Ohio and throughout the country. I love it because I get to support my community, but it goes far beyond that because it draws from farther and farther."

In addition to a multitude of artists exhibiting in an array of media, there will be a 50-foot- by-50-foot grass mural on display, and 13 different "art experiences" for adults and children in the Arts Activities Area.

There also will be two performance stages, offering everything from a marching band to taiko drumming and jazz.

"We love to participate in the UA Arts Festival and have been involved with this event for many years," said Kathy Bartelt, artistic director and owner of Bartelt Dancers in Upper Arlington. "This strong community event provides our area dancers a chance to perform for and dance with their neighbors and friends.

"It gives us great joy to see young art festival attendees and (the) young at heart get up and dance with us as we celebrate this artistic celebration. We cannot wait to share our talents and passion for our art and we would love to see everyone dance to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the UA Arts Festival."

Upper Arlington Cultural Arts Manager Lynette Santoro-Au said there will be ample opportunities for visitors to experience the arts and to purchase pieces for their collections. There will be 17 refreshment vendors offering drinks and foods ranging from kettle corn to Caribbean and Indonesian street food, as well.

"We have four emerging artists who are trying festivals for the first time," Santoro-Au said. "There are 17 different categories of art to tempt your palate - everything from baskets and ceramics, to glass and photography.

"Upper Arlington High School has loaned us artful benches and an art installation by artist Dana Harper. Find these three golden pieces and post a picture of you with them using #uarthere."

Additional festival information is available through a link on the Upper Arlington Parks and Recreation Department's page on the city's website at uaoh.net.

A free shuttle will be provided at the Kingsdale Center. Handicap and bicycle parking accommodations will be available along Tremont Road.

"The festival has exploded over 50 years," said Ron Johnson, who co-directs the event's entertainment selection committee with Katie Laux and is one of the roughly 200 volunteers who help make the festival possible.

"This is a one-day arts festival that's respected all over the country for the amount of people it draws and the amount of artists who want to be in it," Johnson said. "They want to be here because it's a great event and they know there's going to be a high turnout for them. It's a great way for the community to celebrate the end of summer."

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"This is known by artists and those who attend as one of the best one-day shows in Ohio and throughout the country."

- SONJA SHERIFF

UA resident and artist