MORRISTOWN — When Mare’s Wares Arts Fest began seven years ago, it had only 12 artisans. This year, that number has grown to 90.
“People thought I was crazy when I first started,” Mare’s Wares owner Mary Ann Evans said. “We held it in the middle of the week, and it was just this small group of artists.”
The backyard at Mare’s Wares Pottery, 3938 Route 37, will be transformed from noon to 8 p.m. Tuesday into an outdoor gallery and entertainment venue hosting music, food, wineries, artisans and demonstrators.
The event is attended by more than 2,000 people from both sides of the St. Lawrence River.
“Our Canadian market is expanding dramatically,” Ms. Evans said. “Half of our customers are Canadians. We hold it on Canada’s Independence Day every year to try to lure them to the States.”
The arts festival is about celebrating the arts and creativity in all its various forms, Ms. Evans said. Artisans will barter their art and share their techniques with each other as well as those who attend the event, she said.
Artists’ works including glass blowing and cracker making, paintings, jewelry, wine, food and wood carvings will be on display.
Demonstrations will include pottery wheel work, raku firing, wood carving with Jack Taylor and chair painting with Bill Balling. Connie Denny will be demonstrating weaving with her small loom.
The community is very supportive of the event, Ms. Evans said.
“A large number of the perennials and shrubs in the back of Mare’s Wares were donated by Basta’s Flowers & Gifts. Knowing the amount of traffic the event brings in, this year James Reagen and state Sen. Patricia Ritchie, R-Heuvelton, organized safety signs in front of the event to control traffic,” she said.
This year, children’s activities and entertainment will include Home Again Farm’s alpacas, Breezy Maples’s pony rides, face painting and puppet shows. Live music also will be performed throughout the day.
“We love the idea of our event being diversified,” Ms. Evans said. “We find that when you go to a lot of shows, that there is not a lot for the husbands and children to do. We want the whole family to come and enjoy the event, not just women. I think it is important that families go out and experience these things together. I want them to make a day of it. I want to make sure everyone has a good time.”
As it was when it began, the arts festival is free to the public.
“I believe, personally, as a business owner, if you don’t charge, you put your customers in a better mood and give them the opportunity to explore and purchase something they might like inside,” she said.
“I want people in my local community who wouldn’t go to this kind of event to rethink it. I want them to see that there is a plethora of things going on in their backyard.”