PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Friday is SummerFest at CBS3 and we’re on our way to Manayunk. The main street is about to see more than a little pedestrian traffic.
This weekend it will be full of artists for the Manayunk Arts Festival. This is the 33rd year for the annual event, which presents fine arts and crafts from all over the country.
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The arts festival is returning in full force for the first time since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic.
“The arts festival put Manayunk on the map 33 years ago,” said Joan Dennenberg, a consultant for Manayunk Development Corporation.
Every year since visitors expect such activity. A boon for Main Street artists like Diane Vaughn.
“It was wonderful, I live for it. I paint feverishly, “Vaughn said.
Vaughn’s impressionistic dreamy landscapes stun those who enter her gallery near the main and rector’s streets.
“A lot of people will be standing there watching,” Vaughn said. “It’s like basking in the sun.”
But her daughter Malika encouraged her mother to follow her passion and open the Soft Illusions Fine Art Gallery after working in the Philadelphia school district for more than 30 years as an art teacher.
“It makes me emotional just by thinking about it,” Malika said.
She is a co-owner of Soft Illusions Fine Art Gallery.
“It’s so refreshing and satisfying to see other people react and respond and really appreciate the work she creates,” Malika said. “We are this dynamic duo, this is a perfect team.
Now Malika runs the business and her mother creates the art.
“We are this dynamic duo, this is a perfect team,” Malika said.
“My daughter calls it the art of good mood and it makes me feel good that other people feel good,” Vaughn said.
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You will recognize them this weekend outside the gallery along with the store’s unofficial mascot, Miles.
“I make a lot of rings, I feel like this is my specialty,” Vaughn said.
Jewelry, such as the products of Isabel Ecker, is always a favorite at the art festival. The girl from Philippi, Isabel, made her first silver ring when she was only 12 years old.
She immediately realized that she was passionate for life.
“Seeing someone walking down the street and seeing him carry my piece just gives me so much joy,” Ecker said. “I think people are ready to go out, shop and be around other people, and I’m excited to share my work with everyone again.”
Her projects will be shown near Main Street and Shurs Lane.
This year, she will join 275 other artists from across the country and the world with works of art in seven wide-ranging media.
“Glass, fiber, ceramics, woodworking, photography, painting,” Dennenberg said.
The Manayunk Arts Festival typically draws more than 150,000 visitors in two days, and organizers expect audiences to return to pre-pandemic levels this year.
“Looking at the art of being in Manayunk, eating at our restaurant, shopping in our stores, I think you’ll see a lot of happy faces,” Dennenberg said.
This will be a great weekend for Manayunk.
This will be the first closed arts festival since 2019. Of course, the festival was canceled in 2020 due to the pandemic and last year was a much reduced version.
It is safe to say that these companies and artists are ready to see the crowds back right in the middle of the main street.
There is a parking lot in the area, but there is not a single ton. Organizers recommend cycling or public transport.
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There will also be a shuttle this year.