Mega creativity on display at Coupeville festival

— Created August 10, 2022 by Kathy Reed

By Kathy Reed

Creativity knows no bounds and there will be all kinds of it on display this weekend at the 58th annual Coupeville Arts and Crafts Festival. The festival is open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday in the historic Coupeville downtown.

Organizers said the festival is basically back to normal following a slight scaling back last year due to COVID, but some of the changes made last year have stuck around.

“Last year we scaled back to allow a 10-foot space in between each artist booth,” said Deborah O’Brien, president of the Coupeville Festival Association, which puts on the annual event. “We also did not do a beer garden or live music.

“The response from the community and vendors was phenomenal,” she continued. “They LOVED the wider-spaced feeling of the festival and the more family friendly attitude. So we made the decision to remain in the same footprint and format as last year and add a few more children’s activities so the children and their artistic endeavors could be better explored.”

Well over 100 vendors will have their talent on display – and for visitors, there will be a huge variety of items to browse, ranging from photography and painting to metal work, garden art, jewelry, pottery, needlework and much more.

“We will be featuring 140-plus vendors this year. Almost 40 percent are new vendors appearing at the festival for the first time,” O’Brien said. “This year the vendors run the wide gamut from homemade fudge to graffiti artists to wood workers to exquisite jewelry makers. We also feature a variety of clothes and children’s items.”

With a nearly 60-year history, the Coupeville Arts and Crafts Festival is coming full circle when it comes to some of its longtime vendors, according to O’Brien.

“One vendor, Sarah Lyngra, will be featuring her late mother’s, Beatrice Joan Wilson Powell’s, artwork,” she shared. “Ms. Powell was one of the original vendors with the Coupeville Arts and Crafts Festival dating back to 1972. Although Ms. Powell passed away in 2021, we are honored to have her daughter show her works at our festival. Booth #122.”

While there are a great many new vendors this year, the majority of them have attended the festival before. O’Brien said she believes that’s because the festival association treats them well.

“The vendors return via the juried art process because we make it as easy for them as we can with load in and load out, food and snacks, water and breaks,” she said. “We treat them like the stars that they are. We share happiness with them.”

Of course, the festival simply wouldn’t happen without help. O’Brien said the many volunteers that help each year are essential to putting on such a large event.

“It takes approximately 250 volunteers to run the festival. This year we are very fortunate that in addition to the Lions and other groups, we have had Big Brothers/Big Sisters, Coupeville Scout Troops 4058-B and 4058-G and the Coupeville High School cheerleaders as our youth volunteers,” O’Brien said. “Youth is what will keep this festival going and viable and we are very pleased with the turnout.”

And the festival association impacts the community and its youth in a big way as well, hitting a major milestone recently.

“The Coupeville Festival Association topped $1 million in grants and scholarships this past year – no little feat for an all-volunteer based event,” said O’Brien. “In addition to four $2,000 scholarships given out each year, we have assisted in funding Pacific Rim Institute, the Coupeville Chamber of Commerce, Boys and Girls Club of Coupeville, Coupeville Farm to Table school program, Pacific Northwest Art School, the Trust Board of Ebey’s Landing, Island County Museum, the Haller House refurbishment and a wide variety of other projects you see around Coupeville, including the AED devices which assist in keeping our citizens safe in an emergent situation.”

The festival draws between 10- to 15,000 visitors each year. Organizers anticipate high numbers of visitors this year as well, since activities in general have resumed more “normal” operations. In addition to folks seeking out fun, family-friendly activities, the Arts and Crafts Festival takes place in a wonderful setting.

“People return to this festival year after year because the town is picturesque, the artwork is top of the line while being affordable and the atmosphere is one of pure joy,” O’Brien said. “It is hard to see a frown on a face at the festival – we endeavor to make the experience joyful, so that return trips are a must.”

O’Brien said her favorite thing about the Coupeville Arts and Crafts festival is the camaraderie that develops between the volunteers, the vendors and visitors.

“We are all here to enjoy what this wonderful town has to offer and function as a unit to see that folks are welcomed and well served,” she said.

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