Elmwood Arts Festival



Elmwood Avenue hosted its annual festival for the arts last weekend, featuring an array of western New York artisans, musicians and dancers in a creative setting for local residents and families.

Booths filled with paintings, carvings, photographs, jewelry, pottery and other forms of art lined the avenue while music from local bands and singers entertained pedestrians. With the goal of enticing a crowd that included people of all ages, this year's festival even included a children's interactive art and crafts center, "Kidfest."

This area of the festival included story telling by local performers, dancing, juggling and magic shows. In order to promote creativity, kids had the opportunity to paint hats, make personalized jewelry, and even help decorate a 90-foot "Magic Fish," which was featured in a parade on Saturday.

Along with fair, clear weather, the fun of the celebration drew families and art lovers throughout the weekend. The festival aimed to attract participants and spectators alike to a friendly atmosphere, which benefited both the artists involved, and the surrounding community.

As the festival's general theme focused on local waterways, a 'rolling river" parade took place on Sunday. While the parade is an annual event, this year's included a massive, manned float shaped like a river.

For artists, the festival was also an opportunity to share new and unseen art techniques with peers. In a color photograph of a forest, David Reade, a festival photographer, captured the sun illuminating the fog slipping through a forest in the morning. His work took advantage of timing and precision in order to capture perfect moments in nature.

The artists represented the local and semi-national art community, and included sculptors, glassmakers, luthiers, toy makers and woodworkers along with traditional painters and visual artists.

Jody Zielim, a painter, was pleased with the turnout, as well as the festival's overall atmosphere. She commented particularly on how the integration of different forms of art, such as music and visual works, added to the experience for her as an artist.

Break-dancers, clowns and magicians were also present, along with a wide assortment of other street performers supplementing the scheduled entertainment events. As music poured down the avenue while attendees surveyed the artwork, dancers representing ballet, jazz, and cultural forms of dance entertained the crowd.

The festival, however, was not only a banquet for the eyes and ears, as food of all varieties fed hungry spectators. At the festival's caf?(c), local restaurants catered the event, and a wine tasting booth was open on Saturday.

Bill Fiden, a resident of Buffalo, came with friends to the show in order to peruse the local scenic photography and to admire the fine craftsmanship from the artists.

"This is exactly what we want for our community," commented Fiden on the festival's benefit to Buffalo.

Many volunteers and sponsors participated in making the event possible, although especially outstanding from the large list of supporters were Buffalo's own Ani DiFranco and her local record label, Righteous Babe Records, who both helped finance the event.