News Column

Snake Alley Art Festival Brings Out Crowds

June 16, 2014

By Sarah Tomkinson, The Hawk Eye, Burlington, Iowa

June 16--In March, Mandy Robertson of Carman, Ill., was asked to design a T-shirt for the 47th annual Snake Alley Art Fair.

"I just started sketching and this is what came out of it," the Art Guild of Burlington's artist of the month in April said.

While the T-shirt featured vendors lined along the world's crookedest street, organizers chose to stay off the Snake Alley this year.

"It's hard for them to set up on the alley," said Art Guild of Burlington director Tammy McCoy.

That didn't stop many from climbing Snake Alley to get to the vendors and art displays.

All variations of art, including pottery, photography, drawings, jewelry, stained glass, paintings, garden art, metal work, textiles, mixed media and sculptures were on display -- most ready for sale.

The event attracted 75 artists, some from as far as 1,300 miles away.

"I lived here 30 years ago and my sister still lives here," said Floyd Wagoner, a woodworker.

Sunday was the first time the Las Vegas-based artist brought his talents to Snake Alley.

"Last year, I missed it by one week, so I had my sister contact the Art Guild this year so I knew when it was," Wagoner said.

While in the area, he will show his wares at a festival later this week in St. Louis, Mo.

Sue Van Meter of Burlington wished there were more events like the Snake Alley Art Festival in the area.

"I have particular artists I see every year," she said. "I wish we had more events like this instead of all the small craft shows."

Charles Ervin of Burlington also is an artist, but he was content to sample the work of others. He appreciated the wide range of talents on display.

"There's a variety of everything and you get a little bit of everything here," he said.

Ervin's work is on display at the Art Guild in Burlington. He said he hasn't participated in the festival because he doesn't think he has enough work to sell.

"Sometimes you just have a piece that you like so much, you don't want to sell it," he said.

The fair also had children's station, chalk art presentation, a framer, food vendors and T-shirts with Robertson's design for sale.

The Art Guild also filled its space with pieces of local students art.

While displays were limited to Sixth Street between Columbia and High streets, it was remarkable the event wasn't chased farther from its traditional venue. Forecasters predicted thunderstorms throughout the day, and a rain site was on standby.

Fortunately, partly cloudy skies dominated, the rain stayed away, temperatures flirted with 90 degrees and patrons appreciated the art-filled booths under the comfort of leafy trees as they have for nearly 50 years.


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Source: Hawk Eye, The (Burlington, IA)

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