The Ann Arbor Summer Art Fair(s) in July has been one of my favorite summer events since I started going with my mom when I was in college. Sometimes it was just Mom & me and one or both of my sisters, sometimes friends came along. A few years ago, we got a little turned around about which exit (from US 23) led to the Briarwood Mall, where we parked and took the shuttle. (We finally wrote step-by-step directions and kept them in the glove box.)
This year, thousands of miles away, I could feel in my skin, without looking at the calendar, when it was the art fairs weekend. I was itching for an art show. Ohio seems to have a lot of them, way more than I've found here. We'd got to two or three in the summer (including Ann Arbor), but in remote little Powell River, there's Art in the Park, which is part of the Blackberry Festival, and that's usually tiny and considerably poorly attended (because it's always the same weekend as a ton of other events in the area). Besides, they don't get a lot of outside vendors, so most of the artists' works are familiar.
So just when I was feeling art show withdrawal, I got an e-mail from Powell River artist Skye Morrison, letting me (as one of her many fans) know that she was going to be part of the Filberg Festival, a juried arts & crafts show in Comox. I brought the festival up with my workout buddy Velma and she said she'd love to go--especially if it meant she could check out her competition. (She's a soapmaker.)
She arranged for some of her friends to come along; the more people who came, the more ways the ferry fare would be divided (and the ferry fares just keep going up). Plus, there's that whole "the more, the merrier" idea.
As the festival weekend neared, the weather forecasts grew less promising. People in our group decided not to go, and by Thursday, our group was back to just Velma & me. We decided to go to Comox as walk-ons ('cause taking a vehicle was going to be about $100 more) and catch one of the shuttles to the festival. Dressed in layers and carrying umbrellas and extra socks in our bags, we met the morning of August 1 and after purchasing our ferry tickets, we ran (in the rain) to Rocky Mountain Pizza to get some breakfast and tea.
Fortunately, that was the last rain we saw that day. Though directly overhead was gray for a lot of the day and you could always see gray clouds somewhere in the distance, we didn't have further need for our umbrellas. Yay!
As we were now a party of two, Velma's fellow soapmaker and friend Natalie agreed to pick us up at the ferry (no need for a shuttle!) and took in the festival with us.
What first struck me was how strange it felt to not be allowed in to the festival until 11. I've never been to an art fair where people couldn't walk around and get glimpses of artists setting up. Plus, since we got there at 9:30, we had an hour and a half to kill. (More tea. Biscotti.)
When we were allowed in, I realized this was a park. I'd been told it was, but I apparently didn't take the fact in until I wasn't walking around on pavement and sidewalks. Very relaxing, low key. And compared to the Ann Arbor I was craving, it was tiny.
There were fantastic flowers everywhere, and I thought I took more pictures of them, but apparently not.
Vendors at Filberg include every kind of vendor you'd find at larger shows--just with less selection. These vendors were selling spice mixes to be used as marinade/rubs, created to effect the results of marinating without taking the time to marinate.
This is Skye's booth; I know I'm biased, but she was on of my favorite artists here. She had new paintings, lots of prints, and of all the stalls, hers was one of the busiest I saw.
I was just about to get a picture of her in her tent, but then someone asked her a question and she turned around.
In the end, my purchases included a birthday present, some earrings, and a hair stick (now that my hair is long enough to be held up with one). And we determined that we didn't like any of the three soapmakers' products there as much as we like Velma's and Natalie's soaps. Well, I have to take Velma's word about Natalie's; I haven't tried it yet, but I figure I can trust Velma's judgment on the matter.