As the weather gets nicer and summer gets closer, one Buffalo event has always officially kicked off summer for me; The Allentown Art Festival. While I enjoy attending all the local festivals, The Allentown Art Festival is my favorite for a couple reasons: 1.) It's really the first major festival of the summer in Buffalo and it sets the tone for summer, 2.) Artists are cool people to talk to! They will talk to you about their art and are incredibly proud of what they do, 3.) Looking at art in the middle of the street in one of the coolest neighborhoods in Buffalo is just damn awesome.
This year's festival was the 55th one in the area, and it didn't disappoint. They know how to do it in Allentown!
I was totally bummed when it rained for a good part of the day on Saturday. Festivals are a huge part of income for local artists, and I was happy to hear on Sunday (when I went) that many people still came out on Saturday, umbrellas in hand.
While Saturday was a rainy mess, Sunday was a steamy June day in Buffalo. We wanted to get going early and arrived downtown at 10:40am (20 minutes before it officially opened). There were already a lot of people exploring the booths and we jumped right in. We spent over three hours enjoying the art work, splurging on purchases and enjoying a bite to eat. It was great to see some of my annual favorites and see what new pieces they put out this year, but, what was even better was finding so many new artists!
After the day was over, there were really four booths we were still talking about and/or that we made purchases from. All four of them were "new" finds for me, so I decided to give you a little background on them. If you don't click on the links below and check them out for yourself, you are missing out!
Four "Finds" (In no particular order):
1.) Tanya Zabinski's "Peaceful Activist" Series: These pieces really hit home for me, and I have been thinking about them a lot since the event on Sunday (and honestly, thinking of ways to find more wall space for them). The Peaceful Activist Series consists of 25 pieces based on words/phrases; words/phrases like "do your best", "go local", "bike" and "volunteer". The series embodies all that I try to be, and all that I promote to anyone who will listen. While it applies to all cities, I love that the series was created by a Buffalo artist (fellow Buffalo State alumni). Check out the link above to see the series. Oh, and "go local" and support Tanya!
2.) Buffalo History: Buffalo and history are two of my favorite words, so when you put them together, I'm going to gravitate towards your booth. The booth was full of everything Buffalo from vintage prints, to modern prints, note cards, and maps of the area. My favorite find there had to be the blueprint of the Memorial Auditorium (if you are looking for this print on the website, it's not there yet. It's brand new, and they are working on getting it up there soon). What really impressed me though, was getting a six year old's undivided attention as I explained to him how the Falls froze over (he then insisted we buy one of those prints). Art is a great medium for learning, and especially a history lesson! What could possibly be better than getting a six year old to love Buffalo history as much as I do?
3.) Shooting Star Jewelry: When we started our day of exploring I said, "If I only leave here with one thing, it is going to be a new ring." I have a thing for rings. The Allentown Art Fesitval is a great venue for finding unique jewelry, and Shooting Star jewelry had so many options. I have my boyfriend to thank for this find because I overlooked it on first glance. He insisted I check it out on the way back down the street. They had a large selection of jewelry, and a table full of unique sterling silver rings. I narrowed it down to two final options (although I would have been happy with about ten of them) and let my boyfriend make the final selection. I love it!
4.) Rusted Grain: At some point my boyfriend wandered away from our group. When I located him, he was at the booth for Rusted Grain. The second I walked up to him I could see he really loved the pieces. When he started explaining it to me, I absolutely fell in love with them too. Rusted Grain takes reclaimed Buffalo wood and turns it into furniture, cabinetry and other pieces. They work closely with the Green Demolition Team from Reuse Action to get wood from deconstructed Buffalo area homes.
The amount of local talent in Buffalo is just incredible to me. I'm overwhelmed by the art, culture and pure love for the city that I saw at The Allentown Art Festival. I'm sure this trend will continue throughout all the festivals this summer.
It's going to be a great summer in Buffalo. There is so much to do, it's hard to keep it all straight! One thing is for sure, there's no other place I'd rather be!