Sharon Sawicki can be found at her jewelry stand among the rows and rows of craft booths at the 51st annual Summer Arts Festival sponsored by the Umpqua Valley Arts Association. She sat hitting a small hammer against the metal to create mixed-metal bracelets — something she’s been doing for 12 years.
“The bracelets I’m working with right now are combining copper and silver. So it’s a copper-based bracelet, and then I work the silver, melting it, melting it into different pieces at different temps,” Sawicki said.
Sawicki is just one of many vendors at the festival, which kicked off Friday afternoon with arts and crafts, live entertainment and food vendors at Fir Grove Park.
This year’s theme is the Magic of the Umpqua — meant to commemorate the beauty of the region. The kids zone had Harry Potter-themed crafts for kids to tie into the magical theme, such as making wands and paper fortune tellers.
“We definitely think it’s beauty, our geographic beauty, and kindness and community of people and all the beautiful things they make too,” said Jeneen Hartley, executive director of the Umpqua Valley Arts Association.
There were over 100 artists at the event, including jewelers, photographers, glass blowers and painters displaying their work. The Oregon Oldtime Fiddlers’ Association had a musical petting zoo for kids to test out and try different string instruments as well.
Mary Hammell, who said she comes to the fair every year, and her granddaughter Jackie Heard, 10, came to the art festival together.
“I love all the variety of creativity. I just love to see what people are doing and it’s all so unique and interesting,” Hammell said.
Jackie said her favorite part of the festival is the glass blowers stand because it’s not something she gets to see every day.
“I have this little dolphin, if you put it up to the sun it looks like clouds and stuff. I love that,” Jackie said.
Some of the vendors have been selling at the festival for years. Frank Gosar creates and hand paints stoneware pottery and has been featured in the summer art festival for the past 20 years.
His company, Off Center Ceramics, features animals in his hand painted pottery. He has everything from octopi, sloths, possums and peacocks on his pottery.
“It’s still kind of magical after all these years, to be able to sit down with a lump of clay at the wheel and between the speed of the wheel and the movement of my hands to actually make a functioning pot out of it,” Gosar said.
Business duo Kris Brissette and Kristie Friend sell all natural line of self care products such as bath salts, lip balms and supplemental deodorant. Their stand is called Ash, Herbs and Clay and is their first year at the festival. They said they are hoping to open a store in Roseburg soon.
“We’ve been making things for ourselves, family and friends for quite awhile,” Brissette said. “One of our friends works here at the art center, we shared things with her and she asked us to come and display them this year.”
Syco Billy’s String Band, Steel Wool Band and Briana Renea held live performances Friday afternoon and evening.
The art festival will continue through the weekend, featuring more entertainment and music performances.
Saturday starts with a robotics demo at 10 a.m. and the Chitwood Dancers at 1 p.m. There will be a butterfly presentation at 2:30 p.m. and the Douglas City Youth Orchestra will perform at 3:30 p.m. The last to perform is Youth Night with Stripps at 6 p.m.
The event is $5 a ticket for one-day admission or $8 for the weekend admission. Family passes are available for $15 and kids under 6 are free.
“(It’s) an opportunity to sit with your friends and your family and put your feet up under the bright blue sky and under the shade of the trees,” Hartley said. “That’s my favorite thing to do.”