Covid-19 has canceled the Westmoreland Arts & Heritage Festival in both 2019 and 2020, but organizers will give regular attendees a taste of what they’ve missed with an upcoming one-day event.
The WAHF Mini-Fall Festival will take place on October 2nd from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. at the usual venue in the lower lake area of the Twin Lakes Park in Unity.
Visitors will find the essence of what they love in the park that day, but they will also find some new and different features, said Diane Shrader, Executive Director of WAHF.
“There will be a lot of new providers,” she says. “We were able to pick up some locals who would not have had the goods for a four-day show, but could one day make it.”
The offerings from some of the 36 artisans and craftsmen will also reflect the season.
“There will be some things that are usually bought for the winter like hats and chunky blankets,” said Shrader. “People are looking for this type of article this time of year.”
People want festival food too and can indulge in savory items from Big Black Grill, Steel City Chimneys, and Lynn’s Franks, and snacks and candy from Hanson’s Kettle Korn, Sand Hill Berries, and Sweet Finley’s Cookie Co.
Wineries, distilleries and other food suppliers will also be on site.
“Steel City Chimneys has never hosted the Arts and Heritage Festival, but we were guests and we are very excited to be there this year,” said Jason Kelly, owner of Steel City Chimneys. “With all the uncertainty and fear we all faced during Covid, it is great to be able to attend a local event that is so meaningful to our region.”
“I love the way this festival brings the community together while showing such a wide variety of talent,” said artist Sarah Hunter, a former festival vendor who will be selling her paintings and some pottery. “I really look forward to having a ‘sense of normal’ to celebrate the arts and connect with the community, even for a day.”
Arts and entertainment
Temujin, the storyteller, will stroll the grounds all day, weaving his version of traditional children’s stories and stories from cultures around the world.
The Laurel Stage will feature performances by these local entertainers: Penn Trafford Community Band, 11:00 AM – 12:00 PM; Singer Antolena Damico, 2 p.m.; Neon Swing X-perience Bigband, 3 pm-3pm; and country singer Gary Pratt, 5-6pm
The Trafford Middle School Chorus will sing on the island stage from 2pm to 2.30pm
Shane Dunlap | Grandstand review
Visitors to the 2019 Westmoreland Arts & Heritage Festival watch a performance on the Island Stage in Twin Lakes Park.
The Westmoreland Art Nationals, a juried visual arts and photography exhibition, is usually hosted at the park’s activity center as part of the larger festival. The exhibition has been presented virtually for the past two years, but there will still be art in the activity center.
The Greensburg Art Center will host a series of art demonstrations throughout the day, said GAC member Rosemary Sovyak. These include pottery, painting, and animal portraits.
There will also be a make-and-take arts activity for children, along with fine arts and other handcrafted items sold in the center’s artist market.
The “You Are Here” art space in Jeannette will host an exhibit of information about its exhibits, programs and art materials, said co-founder Mary Briggs.
There will also be a raffle for baskets donated by community members, businesses and festival board members.
“This is an example of everything we have on the regular festival,” said Shrader. “It’s an opportunity for the sellers to sell their goods and meet people.
“We are so grateful for using the park and our sponsor InFirst Bank,” she added.
It is also planned that the festival will take place again in full from June 30th to July 3rd next year.
“We already have a few things set up and all of the vendor applications are available on the website,” said Shrader.
For a map of the fall festival, a list of suppliers and more information, visit artsandheritage.com.