YOUNGSTOWN - It's a potpourri of music and artists that offers a little something for everyone, in the words of Carl Antonelli.
Hundreds of people filled the grounds of the Youngstown State University campus Saturday for the first day of the 15th annual Summer Festival of the Arts. The free event concludes today with numerous performances, vendors, artists, food and cultural presentations as people of the Valley are invited to sample the many activities it has to offer. Antonelli, 70, of Champion, along with his wife, Gladys, 64, were among the more than 75 volunteers helping to organize the event.
"It showcases the university, the campus, many of the patrons and artists are probably former Youngstown and Trumbull County students and YSU students," said Antonelli, a YSU alumnus himself.
More than 75 artists from seven states were sprinkled along campus selling handmade wares such as paintings, sketches, jewelry, sculptures, wood, glass, textiles and other media. Favorite fair foods like lemon shakes, deep-fried dough and even wood-fired pizza were among the culinary delights to choose from, along with a large selection of ethnic cuisine.
To set the mood, local musicians performed in four stages in a variety of musical forms.
Kathleen Terlecky, 57, of Youngstown, attends the fest every year. She said she likes most the variety of the artwork and wares available to see and purchase, but maintains that "without the atmosphere, music and food it wouldn't be the same."
Terlecky, an artist, likes to see what her peers are doing and likes to gauge the quality of her work by comparing it to that of others in the field.
"It give me fresh ideas, it gives me a lot of new ideas," she said, adding that she is also there to support her fellow artists. "I think we should support the arts. It's very important."
YSU senior Gwen Dmiteruk, 23, said she always visits the Leaf'crete tent to purchase some of their wares.
If you go
WHAT: 15th annual Summer Festival of the Arts
WHEN: 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. today
WHERE: YSU grounds
"I really like their artwork. I try to buy one of their things every year. I really enjoy them," she said, displaying a large package containing a concrete leaf decoration.
Dmiteruk, a physics major, stopped by the telescope display in front of the Ward Beecher Planetarium to see if she could catch a glimpse of the sun.
Jodi and Ray McCullough, members of the Mahoning Valley Astronomical Society, said the weather wasn't cooperating Saturday as afternoon clouds rolled in after a relatively sunny morning.
"When we first set up, it was nice," Ray McCullough said. "Whenever the sun is available (people) get excited."
The society was offering passers-by a safe view of the sun through special scopes.
"Some people are afraid. They've been told all their lives not to look at the sun," McCullough said.
However, for those who don't want to chance looking through the eyepiece, the organization offered eyepiece projection, where the image of the sun is projected onto a piece of paper for safe viewing. For the more adventurous, a white light filter and hydrogen alpha filter were available.
The McCulloughs said they were hoping Sunday's weather would be more cooperative.
"We got fooled this time. We thought it was going to be nice," said Jodi McCullough.
Terlecky said the summer fest is important because it brings people out from surrounding communities and shows them what YSU has to offer.
"It's one of the best things that we've got going in Youngstown," she said.
The Antonellis, who have volunteered for the event for the last four or five years, try to encourage others to do the same.
"A lot of people just give back to the community. Instead of sitting home, just get your elbows on the counter," he said.
Today's festival activities run from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on the YSU campus. For more information, visit web.ysu.edu/sfa.