Arts and Entertainment

Street Festival expands to enliven downtown | SLIDESHOW

MARYSVILLE — The Marysville Street Festival: Handmade & Homegrown filled two blocks with more than 100 vendors Aug. 9-11, and while attendance may have been down by some estimates, the event's organizers are willing to let their new features and activities grow next year.

"This year's Street Festival was better than ever," said vendor coordinator Vicki Miniken, owner of The Vintage Violet on Second Street. "We've been discussing ways to start promoting it earlier, but we're definitely keeping that third day. We're also considering extending our Sunday hours, because we know some folks go to church."

According to Miniken, the Downtown Marysville Merchants Association has taken very seriously the feedback they've received from Street Festival attendees, via comment sheets submitted after each of the past two years of the event.

"We've been testing the waters for many of these activities for a while now," said Miniken, whose favorite additions to this year's Street Festival included Lang's Traveling Pony Rides, the Longneckers Alpaca Ranch and Kids' Day on Sunday, Aug. 11. "I already know the alpacas are coming back next year. We've also been talking with several crafters, because just like people get excited when they hear the sound of chainsaw carving during the Street Festival now, I want them to get excited when they hear hot metal steaming, and metal hitting metal, from firsthand demonstrations by ironworkers."

Miniken extended her thanks to the Marysville Arts Coalition for providing an interactive art exhibit to keep children entertained during Kids' Day, which she credited Leslie Buell and Patricia Schoonmaker with spearheading.

"We're definitely going to keep going with Kids' Day," said Schoonmaker, owner of Trusty Threads on Third Street. "It was a success this year, and as it grows and builds over the years, it'll become something that people come to expect from this event. It gives people a good reason to bring their kids down, and it got a good response."

In addition to the pony rides and the bouncy house, Schoonmaker saw Lolly the Clown and Danny the Uncanny Magician draw crowds this year, and she's already exploring ways to incorporate more kids' music and kids' activities, the latter courtesy of vendors.

"Kids' Day will still be a shorter day than the other two [Street Festival] days, since there's only so much you can cram into that day," Schoonmaker said. "We're nonetheless looking for more interactive stuff, like what the Marysville Arts Coalition was wonderful enough to offer at their booth."

Although Schoonmaker acknowledged that she'd heard attendance at this year's Street Festival wasn't quite up to last year's numbers, that word didn't square with the foot traffic that she saw on the street that weekend.

"I never felt like there was any dead time," Schoonmaker said. "There was a constant stream, and again, Sunday was such a success. We just need to keep doing these three days, and everyone will get used to it."

Schoonmaker joined Miniken in expressing gratitude not only to the all-volunteer staff behind the Street Festival, but also to the surrounding community as a whole for supporting it for so many years.

"We've been doing this for 28 years, and we plan on doing it for many more to come," Miniken said. "We want people to come to the downtown corridor, to enliven the area. We want to know them, and we want them to know we're here. It's all about community."

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