The Upper Arlington Labor Day Arts Festival promises this year to build on the goal of bringing top-notch local and national artists to the community while maintaining long-held traditions of the event.
On Monday, Sept. 2, the Upper Arlington Cultural Arts Division will be host to the 53rd annual Upper Arlington Labor Day Arts Festival at Northam Park, 2070 Northam Road, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
The event is free, but for decades those behind putting it on have been determined to build it into one of the richest celebrations of creativity and craft found in Ohio and beyond.
"This year, we have 149 artists from all over the country," said Jodi Osbourne, Upper Arlington interim arts manager. "We also have come local artists from Upper Arlington.
"It's a juried show. So we get a variety of artists and different media. We have 16 genres this year."
The festival is the largest event the Cultural Arts Division produces. It features 18 food vendors and two stages that will showcase live music and other activities.
On the Activities Stage, entertainment includes the Upper Arlington High School marching band, which will play at 10:30 a.m., and performances from the Barrington Elementary Taiko Group, Japanese drummers and local ballet dancers.
The Performance Stage will feature the NACHO Street Band, the Upper Arlington alumni band, The Majestics and the reggae-rock-infused Andy Shaw Band, among others.
At 1 p.m. on the Performance Stage will be the annual awards presentation.
Each year, two judges review the artwork on display to honor participating artists with awards.
The judges select four winners: best of show, first place, second place and third place. Monetary prizes are attached to each award. Best of Show earns $600, first place $300, second place $250 and third $200, Osborne said.
"Along with the monetary award, the four winners are automatically invited back for the following year's Upper Arlington Labor Day Arts Festival without being juried," she said.
In addition to the returning and emerging artists scheduled to perform, there are several other activities that promote art. Various displays encourage visitors to observe and contemplate, and others seek interaction.
"There will be a giant weaving project," Osbourne said. "It's a community project and people will be able to contribute to the larger piece by selecting yarn or fabric to weave into the larger piece."
In addition there will be authentic Amish broom-making.
"It's a one-day festival, and the broom-makers are always there," said Ron Johnson, an Upper Arlington Labor Day Arts Festival Committee member. "There are people lined up every year at 10 a.m. waiting to get a new broom."
There are offering a variety of ways to access the event.
Osbourne said a free shuttle will be provided between the Macy's building at Kingsdale Shopping Center and the park from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
There also will be a free "bike valet," where those who ride bicycles to the festival can have their bikes securely stored.
Taking the shuttle, walking or biking to the event is encouraged, Osborne said, because Tremont Road will be closed between Bridgeview Road and Northam Road, and Northam will be closed between Tremont Road and Andover Road.
Osbourne said she hopes people of all ages will visit to experience the variety of art and a celebration of community.
"The city of Upper Arlington encourages our citizens and visitors to explore the arts, celebrating creativity wherever they find it," she said.