2017-05-19 / Today's Top Stories

All good things must come to an end

Athens ArtsFest ends after 18th year

By Nathan Brown

Staff Writer

ATHENS — Following the 18th annual Athens ArtsFest and the recent news of founder David Webster stepping down, the ArtsFest committee released a statement stating that ArtsFest as a whole has come to an end.

“‘To everything there is a season’ and for Athens ArtsFest, our season is over,” reads the statement.

During Tuesday’s Athens Area School District Board of Education meeting, Webster came before the board and announced that he was stepping down from the ArtsFest committee.

Now, on Thursday, the committee released a statement, informing the public that the event is ending.

“For Dave and the Team, ArtsFest has been a labor of love, and we are grateful to have made this remarkable journey with all of you. We’ll miss the talented artists and crafters who have shared their creations with us over the years, especially those who have touched our lives in friendship,” says the statement.

The committee states that due to Webster’s stepping down and most of the core of the team being retirement age or beyond, that it is time to end the event after 18 years.

The release goes on to thank the Athens Area School District, Harlan Rowe Middle School and Athens Area High School, especially the high school art and pottery teachers and students for their years of continued support.

On Tuesday, as Webster addressed the school board, he stated that at its highest, ArtsFest had drawn in over 30,000 people over the two-day span that it was open.

He added that what began as just a few art students outside Harlan Rowe Middle School “throwing” some pottery had turned into one of the top 100 festivals of its kind in the nation.

At its most recent installment, on May 5 and 6, there were over 150 vendors at the event, a big difference from the handful of vendors that were at the first few events.

The statement goes on to say, “We appreciate all in our community who had supported the festival in many and varied ways since 1999, and we thank the financial and in-kind sponsors who have helped us to bring an admission-free and parking-free, award-winning festival to the Valley.”

The Athens ArtsFest Facebook page and website, www.athensartsfest.com, will continue to feature pictures from the 2017 event and will also recognize Athens Area School District students’ art and pottery. Art and craft festivals throughout the region will too be announced on both platforms.

Nathan Brown can be reached at (570) 265-2151 ext. 1639 or email: nbrown@thedailyreview.com.

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