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Around Town, Visual Arts

Paradise City Arts Festival is Huge Success in Northampton

This past Saturday, Sunday and Monday, the Paradise City Arts Festival came to Northampton for one of its bi-annual visits to display the works created by many of New England’s artists.

Walking into the festival, you immediately take in the incredibly detailed and exquisite artifacts that create a haven for anyone, no matter the age. Almost every artistic medium was represented. From antique watches taken apart and made into pens to wooden miniature spoons, there was a plethora of creative ideas at the fairgrounds this past weekend.

Many booths had set up demonstrations giving festival-goers a better idea of the process each artist goes through. Upon entering, you could see a glassblowing demonstration with glass pumpkins decoratively placed on adjacent hay bales. If you continued on to the closest barn, you could find a demonstration of a printing press. When I reached this booth (Big Wheel Press from Easthampton, MA), a young child was smiling ear to ear holding the piece of paper he had just made a print on.

Although there are two shows held yearly at the fairgrounds, it is “busier in the fall normally,” said R. Jason Howard of Cicada Glassworks, a veteran of Paradise City Arts Festival with seven years of experience. However, besides the slight change in crowds, the rest of the fair is “pretty similar” said Howard.  There are three barns holding all of the art and outside of the barns, there is a tent with live music and local food.

The festival is “well organized and well promoted,” said Kathleen Scranton, who was exhibiting for BeeZ which turns old books into fashionable purses. Scranton normally does around 38 arts shows or festivals each year. However, this year she started out with Paradise City Arts Festival and has appreciated being part of the festival.

    The Paradise City Arts Festival comes back to town on Memorial Day weekend, and I highly recommend checking it out.  No matter the level of interest in art, there is something enjoyable to be found by everyone at the Paradise City Arts Festival.