ELYRIA — For the second year, Garford Arts Festival brought an eclectic crowd to East Falls Riverwalk to sample art and music from across the region.
Kerstetter Way was blocked to traffic to allow visitors to walk the street to sample food and enjoy a breezy, sunny late afternoon.
More than two dozen musical acts were scheduled to appear on the three stages set up at the festival. Local acts, and at least one from as far away as Chicago, were on hand to entertain the crowds.
At the railroad overpass over Kerstetter Way, art was hung from the metal pylons and lit by a colorful rotating disco ball.
Tremont Street just south of the railroad tracks became “Art Alley,” where young artists showcased their paintings, metalwork and photography. There were all manner of landscapes, skulls, distorted faces and self-portraits and geometric paint patterns on canvas.
David Spigiel, of Lorain, talked at length with visitors to his booth, Transfigured Trees. Spigiel uses wood to craft bowls, pots, serving dishes and a variety of other useful and decorative pieces.
Wood is “nature’s wonder material,” he said.
Spigiel said he bought a lathe several years ago and never looked back. He can spend a whole day crafting a single piece, and travels to shows in Berea and Cleveland to sell or show them, he said.
“I really enjoy it,” Spigiel said, grinning broadly.
The colors of the wood in his work run the spectrum, from dark to light and anywhere in between. (Ash wood holds stain very well, he said.) He also showed a visitor a piece carved from part of a 300-year-old hickory tree; he said he’s not sure he can part with that one.
That hickory has been around since the birth of the United States, outlasted all its presidents and survived everything to become something close to his heart, he said.
Saturday’s event was organized and sponsored by Blank Slate Elyria, Invest Elyria, Elyria Arts Council, the city of Elyria and numerous individual donors and supporters. Multiple public fundraisers throughout the year also helped raise the money necessary to put on the event.
More than 1,000 people attended last year’s inaugural event, which is named for the 19th- and early 20th-century Elyria industrialist, inventor and politician Arthur Lovett Garford.
Garford, who invented the first padded bicycle seat called the Garford Saddle, was born Aug. 4, 1858. Today would have been his 161st birthday.
His 1895-era mansion, The Hickories at 509 Washington Ave., is now a museum operated by the Lorain County Historical Society.