There are very few art festivals that are a true amalgam of high quality American arts & crafts, unique entertainment, specialty foods AND a ton of opportunities for kids to explore, create and have fun! Every Festival Fete show includes an entire section dedicated to the kids, and the most noteworthy is Festival Fete’s Creation Station.
The Creation Station is a lively section of the festival with six different crafts set up for the children. Many of the crafts are free, and some of the more elaborate ones have a small fee/donation which benefits Festival Fete’s non-profit, Art is Smart. The staff that work at the Creation Station come from a variety of artistic backgrounds but all of them love working with children, and come back year after year to work at the Creation Station because they love it, and it shows!
When I’m working at the festival, I enjoy seeing the kids walk around with their creations and overhearing other kids ask them, “did you make that? Can I make one too?” And the little artists proudly show off their artwork, often times wearing it on their heads as a crown. The recycled material hat making has become one of Festival Fete’s signature crafts that you will find at every Festival Fete show. It’s amazing to see what folks come up with – even the adults – out of recycled bits of paper, fabric, ribbon, metallic wrapping paper, etc. collected from the Resources for Rhode Island Education center (RRIE) in Providence.
Also at almost every show, you will find a community project led by artist/educator Lisa May Tobin. She has led the kids in large scale decoupage animal sculptures, a chair flanked by elves, or a mural. At our upcoming show, the East Greenwich Art Festival, in addition to the Recycled Hat Making, we will have some new crafts including Driftwood Sailboats, Felt Buntings, Paper Animal Heads, String Tye Dye T-Shirts, and Vegetable Printed Market Totes. As I mentioned, there is a requested donation for some of the activities to help support not only the cost of the supplies, but Art is Smart, which serves children by raising funds to support local public education art programs.
Within the Creation Station area, the kids will find plenty of other things to do to keep busy and entertained. Pow Science always sets up a cool little arena with an interactive activity led by their fun loving staff. At this show they will have a Builder’s Paradise featuring Citiblocs, straws & connectors. We will also have a rock climbing wall by Rock Spot Climbing, Face Painting by Marc Kohler & Fran Slade, make your own bugs (out of clay and pipe cleaners) with Parent Bug Magazine, create colorful rubber band bracelets courtesy of the East Greenwich Education Foundation and all things Hula Hoop by All Things Grow withe Love!
Just when you think the kids are finally ready to move on, one of BIg Nazo‘s funny puppets will come marching along to play with you, the kids and your dog! And if you’re lucky enough to run into Eddie Raymond, the magician you will be surprised at what he can do to trick you. Amy the Mime may not speak much, but she has a lot to say, and after the family is all dressed up in their recycled hats you can head over the the Smashing Photo Booth to take some funny photos. By the way, Vikki Comfort, owner of Smashing Photo has so generously donated all of their profits to Art is Smart. Vikki loves her job, and supporting the arts for kids and it shows!
Finally, while you’re there, be sure to visit the ten Young Artist booths that Festival Fete donates to young artist entrepreneurs in grades 1-12. The kids work hard to create their product, develop a table display and learn about retail sales. My kids participated in this program at the Garden City Art Festival and had such a wonderful, fun learning experience! In lieu of the free booth space, the Young Artists donate 10% of their sales to Art is Smart – so it’s supporting art education!
So plan to make a visit to the East Greenwich Art Festival this Labor Day weekend – August 31st and September 1st. We’ll be there from 10am to 5pm both days and would love to see you!
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