A Flood Of Color Fills Downtown Scranton
SCRANTON — When the Lackawanna Arts Festival started six years ago, organizers and ScrantonMade founders Chrissy Manuel and Cristin Powers hoped the event would be the Festa Italiana of art.
With the large crowd walking around Lackawanna County Courthouse Square on Saturday, it looked like the annual event was on its way to catching up to La Festa.
Formerly known as Arts on the Square, the festival kicked off Saturday at noon. More than 150 artists, both local and out-of-town, occupied tents around the square, selling everything from hard cider and vintage clothing to paintings from Katie Novak and pottery from Mud & Maker. Musicians performed on a large stage on North Washington Avenue while the Manning’s Ice Cream and Sweet Lush Cupcake trucks where there to satisfy a sweet tooth.
While vendors hawked, AFA Gallery gave festivalgoers the chance to be part of art. Amateur artists brushed strokes onto large canvases the downtown Scranton gallery provided. Sidewalk chalk works of art livened up North Washington Avenue.
Manuel was on Linden Street surrounded by her ScrantonMade gear — baby onesies, T-shirts, magnets, stickers and mugs embossed with the name of the organization or a whimsical drawing of the downtown Scranton skyline.
She hoped the festival’s name change would attract more out-of-town artists to the event and showcase the region’s artistic community. More than 20 percent of the artists around the square Saturday were from out of town, she said.
“We’re at a point now where we have a long waiting list,” she said. “It shows how many artists there are.”
ScrantonMade also organizes a holiday marketplace in December.
The festival has another goal, to get people to appreciate downtown Scranton, she said.
Max Shellman, 33, and Maureen Chapman, 31, found some shade around the courthouse to put down their bags and enjoy chicken sandwiches from Backyard Ale House.
They came from the Back Mountain for the festival to find decorative knickknacks for their new house. They bought prints to frame and T-shirts to wear.
“The square is beautiful,” Shellman said. “This is great.”
Another festival goal accomplished.
Lackawanna Arts Festival is part of the inaugural Lackawanna Arts Weekend, which kicked off Friday with First Friday and continues today with the Scranton Jazz Festival from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. at the Radisson at Lackawanna Station hotel.
For information, visit www.scrantonmade.com and www.scrantonjazzfestival.org
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