In celebration of its 40th anniversary, the Westfield Arts and Crafts Festival will feature live music for the first time ever.
Area performers have volunteered their support for a program of live music on Friday and Saturday at the Moore Park gazebo. The program will be hosted by Doc and Bill and will include live music throughout the two day festival.
"The most exciting aspect of it is the fact that it's the 40th anniversary of the overall festival," said YWCA executive director Katie Smith. "But, the addition of live music is a great way to make it more of a festival."
Pictured are Doc and Bill, hosts of this year’s Westfield Arts and Crafts Festival music program.
Some of the vendors have close to a 30-year history with the show, and there are even a few who've been with the show for close to 40.
"We have a great cadre of returning vendors," said Smith. "But, we also worked very hard to bring in new and unique crafts-people that the area hasn't seen before."
Reservations are taken for the following year's festival during the event, and vendors are solicited throughout the year by Smith and the YWCA.
"We view their products to make sure they are a good fit for the show and that they have a high-quality, hand-crafted item that we are proud to showcase," said Smith.
In addition to being a family friendly event that features local artists and craftsmen, the festival serves as the primary annual fundraising event for the nonprofit Westfield YWCA.
"In our area of the county, the YWCA is the preferred premier provider of childcare services," said Smith. "The fundraising allows us to keep that cost affordable for families, and provide the staff and activities that make it a great childcare service."
There are many vendors who collect their entire livelihood from crafts shows, said Smith. And, the festival also helps other community agencies such as local churches or nonprofits by featuring them as food vendors.
The addition of music to the festival was more than appropriate, according to Smith. So, she contacted her friends John 'Doc' Hamels and Bill Drellow of Doc and Bill to help organize the musicians.
"Surprisingly enough, they've never had live music there," said Drellow. "I think the result is going to be some really interesting and enjoyable music. It should be two days of the kind of music that people like to listen to outdoors. It's been a neat project to work on, and we're looking forward to playing as well as listening to the other musicians."
Performances on Friday include: Doc and Bill from 11 a.m. to noon, The Bonnie Loch Fiddlers from noon to 1 p.m., Jim Turner from 1 to 2 p.m., Infinity from 2 to 3 p.m., Bill Ward from 3 to 4 p.m. and Doc and Bill from 4 to 5 p.m.
Performances on Saturday include: Doc and Bill from 10 to 11 a.m., Dave Issler from 11 a.m. to noon, Dan O'Connell from noon to 1 p.m., Doc and Bill from 1 to 2 p.m., Crippled Fingers from 2 to 3 p.m. and TBA from 3 to 4 p.m.
"At this particular event, we thought it would be most appropriate to have acoustic musicians and singers," said Drellow. "The festival itself is a very family oriented event, so we were looking for folks who were particularly inclined towards acoustic folk music. We were also looking for those who could play for an hour and keep people entertained."
The music will serve to supplement and complement the existing entertainment at the festival, according to Drellow.
"We know full well that a lot of people who are coming to shop at the festival aren't necessarily coming to sit in front of the gazebo to listen to the music," he said. "So, we wanted to make sure the music will be enjoyable throughout the park, whether or not they are sitting down and watching it."
Music isn't the only new addition to this year's festival. The event will also feature a balloon man who will make items for the crowd.
"If you see people walking around with crazy balloon hats, that's where they will have gotten them," said Smith. "It's for the young and old alike, if it appeals to them."
According to Smith, the festival is perfect for those looking for a family oriented weekend event that is full of fun and supports the local community.
"It's good 'stay-cation,'" said Smith. "The whole village comes together to volunteer, work at the show, shop the show and visit the vendors, making it a wonderful weekend."
The Westfield Arts and Crafts Festival will be held at Moore Park, US 20/NY 39 in Westfield. Admission, parking and shuttle service for the event are free of charge. For more information visit ywcawestfield.org or search for "YWCA Westfield Arts & Crafts Festival" on Facebook.