KITTANNING – Sunday’s crowd at the 2019 Fort Armstrong Folk Festival was large and happy, enjoying pleasant weather and a wide variety of vendors, entertainment and food. While it is a bit early to have tabulated the final figures for the event, its director and vendors said it looked like a success.
Kelly Kozlowski, the owner of Warbler Girl Bags in eastern Ohio, was one of the 100 participating vendors, said she was having a good day for sales.
“Just by looking at the empty hooks in my booth, I would say that today has been a good day,” she said. “This is not the best year we have ever had, but I think the economy seems to be picking up a little.”
Further down the riverfront sidewalk, Punxsutawney-based Wizard’s Workshop saw a lot of foot traffic. A few of his new offerings included a mechanical nodding grandmother statue holding a plate of goodies and a two-headed adult-size rocking horse.
Owner Randy Rupert said, “I have been having a great day. I brought along some different things that people have not seen before.”
The centrally located food booths kept up with hungry festival-goers, tempting passersby with Big Wil and The Warden’s Cajun cuisine from Louisiana, Courtyard Catering’s traditional American fare and other vendors serving burgers, fries and familiar festival food. In all, foodies could choose from 19 vendors.
Totally Eighties and the Bluegrass Redemption Band entertained festival goers from 1 to 3 p.m., followed by The Jentz and the Richard Parker Trio at 4 p.m. There were few empty seats under the canopy stretched across St. Paul’s Episcopal side lawn.
Those looking for a more interactive experience could get their faces painted at A Splash of Sunshine, coming all the way from Inglis, Fla., for the event. Down the sidewalk a few steps was Adam Wamsley Art, ready to dash off a quick sketch of caricature.
More local vendors included members of the ABCI Bee Keepers, a regional group of apiarists showing adult and children how a portable beehive works, one of 10 groups holding demonstrations during the festival. Big Whiff Candle Co., Kittanning, was doing a brisk business in handmade soaps and soy candles, while Davis Greenhouse, also from the Armstrong County seat, had buyers for its air plants, glass yard art and perennials.
Kevin Dennis, a seller of home-produced maple syrup and honey in the Franklin area, had displays that were nearly full on Sunday afternoon.
“It is such a nice festival here along the river,” he said. “Sales have been a little slow for me this weekend, but all this sunshine does not make people think of pancakes and maple syrup in August.”
But for anyone looking for a quart of dark maple syrup, his booth was the place to be.
While some booths may have experienced a slow day, the festival was teeming with attendees. Overall, everyone had an enjoyable day under perfect skies.
The 47th Fort Armstrong Folk Festival took place from Aug. 2-5, and featured a Civil War reenactment, demonstrations of traditional handcrafts, carriage rides, a petting zoo and more.