Festivals of fun

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The Spectrum

As the semester comes to an end and the University at Buffalo campus becomes a desolate wasteland, students living in the surrounding areas will begin the search for inexpensive ways to enjoy their time away from books and lectures.

Luckily, Buffalo is host to a variety of art festivals during the summer months.

Perhaps the most well-known and popular festival, the Allentown Art Festival, will be celebrating its 53rd year in the Allentown Historic Preservation District on Sat. June 12 and Sun. June 13 from 11 a.m. until 6 p.m.

"[The Allentown Art Festival] is an extremely large event. It's been taking place for 53 years and is an art festival offering everything of very high quality. You can get very lovely and expensive pieces of artwork…or there are some very nice things for every budget," said Mary Myszkiewicz, president of the Allentown Village Society, a volunteer, not-for-profit organization that sponsors the Festival.

According to their website, the Festival has a rich history. Beginning in the spring of 1958, the event hosted 50 local craftsmen and artists, and attracted over 20,000 patrons and locals to the Allentown area.

Three years later in 1961, the number of exhibitors had grown to 225, and finally in 1970, had reached a total of 600 featured artists with crowd estimates of over 250,000.

"We had a rocky, crazy start [to the Festival]…it was way too big, but now it's much more controlled and much more fun. 450 artist and crafters [will be featured this year]," Myszkiewicz said.

Myszkiewicz estimates that over 300,000 people will attend. She encourages UB students to make the short drive to Allentown, as there is something for everyone during the two-day festival.

"If you just look at things you have a good time," Myszkiewicz said. "There are restaurants and bars, and it's a great place for people watching…it's great for all ages."

The Festival has not only become a historical legacy, but also cherishes young, up-and-coming future artists. According to their website, 10 percent of the gross profits will be donated to the Community Foundation for Greater Buffalo to be used towards art scholarships.

For more information, visit their website, www.allentownartfestival.com, or stop into the AVS's office, located on 435 Delaware Ave.

If students are unable to attend the Allentown Art Festival, the 11th annual Elmwood Avenue Festival of the Arts offers a great alternative. EAFA will be held on Aug. 28 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and on Aug. 29 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. in Elmwood Village.

According to their website, www.elmwoodartfest.org, the festival will feature over 170 artists and craftsmen, 50 musical performances on its solar powered stages, and a solar powered café with tables, chairs, protection from the sun and a variety of food and beverages to try.

In addition to its vendors, EAFA will feature Environmental Row where patrons can learn about energy alternatives and ways to decrease their impact on the environment.

According to their website, the Festival is "the only free, family friendly arts event to have a comprehensive environmental focus in New York State."

EAFA will also feature Cultural Row where over 35 community organizations will come together and provide information to visitors on everything from local theaters to local sports organizations.

According to their website, the Festival makes a commitment to bring awareness of Western New York artists to the locals, and strives to draw visitors to Elmwood Village and city of Buffalo.

"We hope the Festival helps to feed your creative spirit in many ways; from elegantly fired Raku pottery to paintings of local landscapes…from good old fashion rock ‘n' roll to jugglers to African drumming," said Joe DiPasquale, chairman of EAFA.

For those who appreciate music as an art form, the Music is Art Festival will be held later this summer in downtown Buffalo. The specific dates and times for the Festival have not yet been released, but those interested can receive up-to-date information by logging onto their website, www.musicisart.org.

Music is Art is a not-for-profit organization that was founded in 2004 by Goo Goo Dolls' bassist Robby Takac to encourage others to view music as an integral part of the Buffalo art scene.

According to their website, the festival was first held in 2003 near the Allentown Art Festival.

"Since then, the Music is Art Festival has become Buffalo's most extensive exhibition of local music, dance and art," the site said.

The Festival will feature local artists, dance troupes, live art created in front of the masses, a photography exhibit, local DJ's and a variety of other booths and not-for-profit organizations to educate visitors on the importance of art in the community.

If these festivals aren't enough to satisfy students' art cravings, they can also visit the Alright-Knox Art Gallery on Elmwood Avenue for $8. The Gallery will remain open during the summer months on Tuesday to Sunday from 12 p.m. to 5 p.m.

On Sat. June 5 from 12 p.m. to 3 p.m. on the Grounds, the Gallery will host the festival Art Alive, where community members and artists recreate paintings of the Gallery's collection as live art.

Students can register to be a part of this event or gain further information about the gallery on their website, albrightknox.org.

E-mail: features@ubspectrum.com