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Despite rain, crowd flocks to Shepherdstown Street Fest

By Staff | Jul 3, 2015

Intrepid visitors to Shepherdstown braved the cool, damp weather and made the most of Shepherdstown Street Fest.

Shepherdstown Street Fest is an annual event that blends live music performances with craft vendors and other activities.

Each year, donations from corporate sponsors and proceeds from the event itself are given back to two charitable organizations in the area. This year’s Street Fest benefitted the Shepherdstown Daycare and regional charity CASA (Court-Appointed Special Advocates) of the Eastern Panhandle.

According to organizer Lori Robertson, last year’s Street Fest was held to benefit Good Shepherd Caregivers and the Bethany House, and each organization received a $5,500 donation from the event proceeds.

Fused glass artist Jennifer Webb of Warmglass Designs was selling her jewelry, plates and other glasswares at Street Fest.

Webb, who worked with stained glass before discovering the fused glass technique, said she likes the more freeform technique, which she described as “painting with glass.”

Saturday was Webb’s fourth time selling her crafts at Street Fest, and she said she keeps coming back, in part, because she has friends who live in Shepherdstown and likes getting a chance to visit.

“The art vibe here (in Shepherdstown) and the people who are into art really seem to ‘get’ my glass,” Webb said. “You want to go somewhere people like what you’re doing.”

Down the street, Neil Super of Two Rivers Turnings had wooden items, mostly bowls, for sale-and many of the pieces have a storied past.

Super said he goes to historic sites in Jefferson and Berkeley counties and harvests wood-such as fallen limbs after a storm-with the property owners’ permission.

The wood is then turned on a lathe to make bowls, and Super said he makes a series from each site, and the person who donated the tree to him gets the first finished piece in the series for free.

Super said he keeps a map, pinpointing the places he’s highlighted with his art.

“Sometimes, the trees themselves are pretty fascinating,” he said. “There are a lot of stories, and the map visually tells you where they’re coming from. I make usable stuff that preserves the tree and the history behind it.”

Amethyst Franklin, age 10, said she was experiencing Street Fest for the first time.

Franklin said she enjoyed looking at the vendors’ booths and getting a balloon bracelet made by magician Johnny-O.

Franklin was also at Street Fest selling her own woven bracelets, called “Bands of Hope.”

“I raise money to get advocates for children who are in need of one by selling bands of hope, which my friends at school helped me make,” she said.

Michael Wimer and Rachel Cronin, who both said they are Street Fest veterans who have attended the event for many years, strolled the street.

Wimer said Saturday’s event was the rainiest Street Fest in recent memory, but Cronin said they were still having a good time browsing the vendor booths.

“They have some new things and a lot of craft places are doing things like made-to-order or custom stuff,” Cronin said. “We have a pretty good time every year and it’s pretty much the only day of the year you can drink in the street, so we have fun with that.”

Due to the rain, music performances were moved indoors.

Bands scheduled to perform on the Library Stage, including Herb & Hanson, Mink’s Miracle Medicine, The Plate Scrapers and The Reckless Island, performed in the War Memorial Building.

Bands scheduled to perform on the Main Stage, including The Reckoning, Christian Lopez Band, Mike Wescott Band, The Johnny Neel Band and headliner Yo Mama’s Big Fat Booty Band, performed in the Shepherdstown Opera House.

Street Fest was followed by an after party at the Shepherdstown Opera House at 9 p.m. featuring music performances from Valentine/Leonard/Walton & Chappel and Sacred Groove.