By Sue Botos
Aside from children heading back to school, another sure sign of fall in Rocky River is the annual Fall Arts Festival, which will turn Old Detroit Road into an informal art gallery on Sept. 14 from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m.
The event, hosted by the Rocky River Parks & Recreation Foundation, is in its fifth year and, according to foundation trustee Terri Jones, it keeps getting more popular with artists as well as art lovers. The first event, held in 2009, was publicized mostly via word of mouth. This year, artists were lining up to exhibit.
“We’ll have 68 artists this year, up by 18 from last year. We had to turn 20 down,” Jones noted. About 3,000 people attended last year.
Jones added that Mayor Pam Bobst has stressed that only local artists from nearby towns and cities will be displaying and selling their work, offering everything from oil painting to ceramics to photography. Included in this year’s group will be nine hometown Rocky River exhibitors, including Kim Thomas (jewelry), Joleen Arthur (watercolor), Valerie Lesiak (Picture Book Studio), Norman Drake (digital photography), Shaun Kinley (acrylics), Marie-Therese Girard (Victorian crafts), Amanda DiBenedetto (acrylics), Lauren Hollis (earrings) and Beth Martin (sea glass).
Financial support for the festival is raised primarily by donations from local merchants and the $50 entry fee per exhibitor. Jones stated that once again, First Federal of Lakewood donated $5,000. “All of this money goes directly to maintaining our parks and recreation program,” she said. The foundation, which is made up of volunteer residents, has donated funds for playground equipment for the city parks and the grading of all city baseball fields. The nonprofit group also assists with the biannual ice show.
A portion of the proceeds from this year’s festival will also be used to provide a scholarship to a graduating Rocky River High School student who will study art at an accredited school.
There will also be refreshments, live music and children’s activities such as sidewalk chalk, art projects and face painting. In addition, many of the shops of Old Detroit will be offering specials and sales.
Parking for the festival will be available on Depot Street, directly behind the northern row of shops. The event is free and open to the public.
Also, on Sept. 21, a collectibles show of another type will take place as the Rocky River Senior Center presents its annual “Junk in the Trunk” sale from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., at which thrifty shoppers can browse treasures for sale in participants’ trunks. The senior center is located in the City Hall complex at 21014 Hilliard Blvd.
“We have about 35 signed up so far,” said senior center Director Carol Calladine.
She added that the event, like the arts festival, has grown since it began 13 years ago. “It’s good for seniors who don’t want to have a garage sale, or who live in an apartment and can’t have a sale,” she noted.
A maximum of 40 vehicles can park and sell in the senior center lot. Calladine said access to all city buildings, as well as a document shredding event in front of the police department, will be maintained throughout the sale. A health fair, with free screenings, exhibits and information, will also take place inside the senior center during the sale.