Covid-19 forced cancellation of 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 from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Oct. 2 in the event’s usual location at the lower lake area of Twin Lakes Park in Unity.
Visitors will find the essence of what they love in the park that day, but they’ll also find some new and different features, said WAHF Executive Director Diane Shrader.
“There will be a lot of new vendors,” she said. “We were able to pick up some local people who wouldn’t have had the merchandise to do a four-day show, but can do one day.”
Offerings from some of the 36 artisans and crafters also will reflect the season.
“There will be some things that are typically purchased for the winter, like beanies and chunky blankets,” Shrader said. “People are looking for that type of item at this time of the year.”
People also want festival food, and they’ll be able to fill up with hearty fare from Big Black Grill, Steel City Chimneys and Lynn’s Franks, along with snacks and sweets from Hanson’s Kettle Korn, Sand Hill Berries and Sweet Finley’s Cookie Co.
Area wineries, distilleries and other food purveyors also will be on site.
“Steel City Chimneys has not done the arts and heritage festival before, but we have attended the festival as guests and are very excited to participate this year,” said Steel City Chimneys owner Jason Kelly. “With all the uncertainty and anxiety we’ve all faced during covid, it’s great to be able to participate in a local event that is so meaningful to our area.”
“I love how this festival brings the community together while also showing such a huge variety of talent,” said artist Sarah Hunter, a previous festival vendor who will be selling her paintings and some pottery. “I’m really looking forward to being able to have a ‘sense of normalcy’ celebrating the arts and connecting with the community, even for one day.”
Art and entertainment
Temujin the Storyteller will be strolling the grounds throughout the day, weaving his version of traditional children’s tales and those from cultures around the world.
The Laurel Stage will host performances by these local entertainers: Penn Trafford Community Band, 11 a.m.-noon; singer Antolena Damico, 1-2 p.m.; Neon Swing X-perience big band, 3-4 p.m.; and country singer Gary Pratt, 5-6 p.m.
Trafford Middle School Chorus will sing on the Island Stage from 2-2:30 p.m.
Shane Dunlap | Tribune-Review
Visitors to the 2019 Westmoreland Arts & Heritage Festival watch a performance at the island stage in Twin Lakes Park.
The Westmoreland Art Nationals, a juried fine art and photography exhibition, usually is presented in the park’s activity center as part of the larger festival. The exhibition was presented virtually for the past two years, but there still will be art in the activity center.
Greensburg Art Center will present a series of art-making demonstrations throughout the day, said GAC member Rosemary Sovyak. Those will include pottery, painting and pet portraits.
There also will be a make-and-take art activity for children, along with fine art and other artisan-made items for sale from the center’s artist marketplace.
You Are Here art space in Jeannette will provide a display with information on its exhibitions, programs and art materials thrift shop, said co-founder Mary Briggs.
A raffle of baskets donated by community members, businesses and festival board members also will be available.
“This will be a sample of everything we offer at the regular festival,” Shrader said. “It’s an opportunity for the vendors to be out and selling their goods and meeting the people.
“We’re so grateful for the use of the park and to our sponsor, InFirst Bank,” she added.
Plans also are in place for the festival to return for its full run next year, from June 30 through July 3.
“We already have some things in place, and all the vendor applications are up on the website,” Shrader said.
For fall festival map, vendor list and more information, visit artsandheritage.com.
Shirley McMarlin is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Shirley at 724-836-5750, [email protected] or via Twitter .