Looking for a bustling, unique, and downright eclectic festival? Look no further than Shippensburg’s 12th annual Solstice Arts Festival. Designed for art lovers, artists, and music enthusiasts, this dynamic festival is sure to appeal to everyone in your family.
The festival kicks off Saturday, June 17, 2017 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Shippensburg Township Park on Britton Road. Admittance is free to this family friendly event, and parking is also free.
As Richardson explains, the festival originated as an event to “celebrate the fine arts and give artists a chance to bring their talents to the public.”
Since then the festival has expanded to include many other areas of interest, however the core of the festival remains the artwork.
“The focus of the festival has always been on the fine arts,” Richardson adds. “Each year more artists find their way to this growing festival to display, sell, and demonstrate their art.”
Several local and regional artists can be found crafting their magnificent creations and selling them at the festival. Festival attendees can watch artists work in a variety of mediums, including pottery, glass blowing, fiber arts, painting, photography, jewel-crafting, and sculpture to name a few.
Longtime festival participant Michael Peluso demonstrates his incredible glass blowing talents and sells his unique handcrafted pieces.
For those new to the festival, the oversized Art Wall is truly impossible to miss!
“At the beginning of the day, the panels are completely barren, just stark white walls. Then, when the festival is over, they become brilliant pieces of group artwork,” Grace adds. “The Art Wall is a remarkable part of the festival. Here, you’ll find children, teens and adults side by side reflecting on what mark to leave on the festival’s iconic canvas.”
Returning attractions this year include the Susquehanna Art Museum’s VanGo! traveling gallery, a zip line provided by Philadelphia Mobile Zip Line Co., and even a Renaissance reenactors group, Richardson reports.
“To attract a diverse set of visitors, we wanted to offer a day filled with unique experiences,” he adds. “Our programs and activities expanded this year, and we hope people will want to explore the festival as a result.”
As Richardson says, the courageous visitor is sure to enjoy the zip line. Those ready to explore this exciting activity are encouraged to take to the sky!
“Many artists (like Peluso) create their works for curious onlookers,” Richardson says. “It’s a popular part of the festival, and the artists are more than willing to share information about their skills and background.” Artist Anne Cherry, a veteran to the festival since it’s beginning says, “This is the most FUN festival around,
with so much to see and do for all ages.”
In hosting these talented regional artists in Shippensburg, SHAPE provides the entire Cumberland Valley with a chance to interact with working artists who share their passion for art.
“In a time when budget cuts require families to spend less, the Solstice Arts Festival offers the community an opportunity to explore the world of art right in their own backyard at no charge,” SHAPE president Trisha Grace says.
Children of all ages also have on outlet for expression at the festival. Local artists paint children’s faces, organize fun art projects at the Children’s Tent and encourage visitors to grab a sodden paint brush to decorate the Art Wall. These fun activities are offered at no cost to parents.
Members of the Society for Creative Anachronism’s Shire of Montevale will establish their own small hamlet, where live action role players (LARP) dress in period attire. They’ll also display medieval artwork and hold sword fighting demonstrations.
For music lovers out there, amazing performers entertain visitors on the amphitheater stage throughout the day – including Studio Z..Zumba (dance) & Pound, Tresa Paul (acoustic blues), Seldom Said No (bluegrass) Shana Rae (folk), Imbued Vagary (ambient electronic), and Troupe Asherah’s Belly Dancers (dance).
Returning to the festival is the popular Eco Village. Here visitors will find organizations promoting green, sustainable living and environmental awareness. Such things as several solar displays for power and water heating, a bicycle powered potters wheel, rain barrels, and solar cooking and an electric car courtesy of H&H Chevrolet.
The Wellness Circle returns to include many area vendors.
“The Wellness Circle has exploded with interest,” Richardson notes. “It’s as a place to explore natural health and wellness organizations and activities such as yoga, therapeutic massage, whole foods and Shippensburg Universities College Farm, and other local growers to name a few.”
Many area wellness practitioners offer tips to keep ourselves vibrant and in good spirits.
Members of the Society for Creative Anachronism’s Shire of Montevale
A wide range of options are available at the festival’s culinary court, including burgers, pulled pork, ribbon fries, great vegetarian and vegan dishes, cookies and more. For ways to cool off, families can enjoy ice cream, banana splits, sundaes, cool drinks, and iced coffee and more.
“SHAPE’s board of directors is proud to bring the Solstice Arts Festival to Shippensburg and the entire region,” Richardson said. “We continue to be excited and motivated by the increasing support and enthusiasm generated by this annual event.”
Held at the Shippensburg Township Park on Britton road, the Solstice Arts Festival kicks off at 9 a.m. It is free and open to the public. Chosen for its pleasant country setting and ample parking, the township park features a large amphitheater, open grassy areas, restroom facilities, picnic pavilions, playgrounds, water features to cool off under, and access to the Cumberland Valley Rails to Trails for those who want to wander under the trees.
For more information about Solstice Arts Festival or SHAPE, contact (717) 532-2559, email email@example.com
To explore photographs from past festivals, please visit www.facebook.com/SolsticeArtsFest.