Saxonburg arts festival brings out tens of thousands to quaint town |
Valley News Dispatch

Saxonburg arts festival brings out tens of thousands to quaint town

Megan Guza
photos: Megan Guza | Tribune-Review
Helen Nicholas paints the face of 4-year-old Quinn, who came to the festival with his mother.
photos: Megan Guza | Tribune-Review
Four-year-old Quinn tries to sit still for face painting at the Saxonburg Festival of Arts on Saturday, Sept. 7, 2019.
photos: Megan Guza | Tribune-Review
Two-year-old June Lang shares cheese fries with her grandmother, Cindy Lang, at the Saxonburg Festival of Arts on Saturday, Sept. 7, 2019.
photos: Megan Guza | Tribune-Review
Timmy Costul prepares a batch of kettle corn for H&H Concessions at the Saxonburg Festival of Arts on Saturday, Sept. 7, 2019.
photos: Megan Guza | Tribune-Review
Keith Mastri of Penn Hills checks out a replica DeLorean on Saturday at the Saxonburg Festival of Arts. The car, part of the classic car show, did not reach 88 mph, and the day wore on in normal time. Timmy Costul prepares a batch of kettle corn for H&H Concessions.
photos: Megan Guza | Tribune-Review
Luca Arthurs (second from left) and Kurt Zaspel, 3, visit Saturday with Captain America and Superwoman at the Saxonburg Festival of Arts. Nick Travis (Captain America) and Jessica McNulty (Superwoman), volunteers with New Life Ministries, spent the day posing with children who wanted photos with superheroes.
photos: Megan Guza | Tribune-Review
Carol Peters, of Saxonburg, admires a piece of art submitted to the Saxonburg Festival of Arts on Saturday, Sept. 7, 2019.
photos: Megan Guza | Tribune-Review
John Wachter, of Butler, poses with his 1972 El Camino at the Saxonburg Festival of the Arts on Saturday, Sept. 7, 2019.
photos: Megan Guza | Tribune-Review
Carlos Alvarez, of Brooklyn, New York, poses with an inflatable dolphin he won at the Saxonburg Festival of Arts on Saturday, Sept. 7, 2019.
photos: Megan Guza | Tribune-Review
Mike Huston, left, and Rem Steele show off authentic Civil War-era rifles at the Saxonburg Festival of Arts on Saturday, Sept. 7, 2019. The pair are members of the 78th Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry Company F Freeport, a re-enactment group portraying a local Union Army unit.

Spotty clouds and a few drops of rain did little to deter the crowds at the Saxonburg Festival of Arts on Saturday.

The weekend event, in its 34th year, usually draws between 20,000 and 30,000 people over two days, according to Hannah Shannon, volunteer coordinator.

The festival continues Sunday from noon to 5 p.m.

“It’s a family friendly function,” Shannon said. “There are great food, great crafts — the live music is amazing here. It’s just a very fun, family-oriented event.”

More than 150 vendors lined Main Street, Rebecca Street and Roebling Park, selling everything from Christmas and Halloween decorations to homemade apple dumplings and buckets of cheese fries.

Most of the vendors are local, and that’s part of the draw, according to Brian Helfer, owner of H&H Concessions.

“Everyone can get their early Christmas shopping done,” he said.

Helfer has run the old-timey, Western-themed food stand since 2013, but it dates to the 1990s, he said. It offers kettle corn, snow cones, floats and more.

“It’s a fixture,” he said of the festival. “All the locals come out.”

Carol Peters of Saxonburg was among the locals. Rain kept her away last year as remnants of a tropical storm passed through, but Peters said she tries to come every year.

“I was down at the quilt show, where you have to vote on them, and I had to go through three times before I could decide,” she said.

In what began as a way to showcase his paintings, Mark Anderson now helps organize the art show portion of the festival. After showcasing his art for years, he began helping out. Now he sits on the committee.

“It’s an opportunity to show your work — art shows are really the only outlet,” said Anderson of West Deer. “There are less and less local art shows.”

It’s a team effort to put together the annual event, according to Shannon, and it takes months of preparation.

“It’s all done by volunteers,” she said.

The money raised goes to the Saxonburg Museum, which preserves and retells the history of the town, including that of pioneering engineer John Roebling. Roebling developed and patented the first wire cable — a design that would go on to suspend the likes of the Brooklyn Bridge and the Golden Gate Bridge.

Shannon said the festival is the largest fundraiser for the museum as well as Roebling Park.

Megan Guza is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Megan at 412-380-8519, [email protected] or via Twitter .

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