Fallasburg Arts Festival Draws Crowds on First Day

Hand-painting is always an option for kids who don’t want a picture on their face.

Despite a rainy start to the day, the Fallasburg Fall Festival for the Arts wasn’t hampered by bad weather on Saturday. The dark clouds cleared and the sun shown bright as visitors from across the region descended onto Fallasburg Park for the annual event.

“It’s overwhelming,” said Emily Mastbergen, a volunteer manning the children’s area, “but it’s a ton of fun.”

Mastbergen, a Grand Valley State University student, was at her first Fallasburg Festival and helping as an intern with Arts in Motion. The five-year old organization offers a variety of arts activities to those with developmental disabilities. Options include individual as well as group classes in a variety of mediums including dance, photography, crafting, music and drama.

However, on Saturday, the Arts in Motion team was shifting gears and overseeing pumpkin decorating, face-painting and mask-making instead.


Gary Eldridge can remember back to the very first Fallasburg Fall Festival. It originated with a historical festival that had outgrown its original sponsor. “They didn’t have enough manpower for it,” he said.

The local arts council, today known as LowellArts, took over and this year marks the 48th annual Fallasburg Fall Festival for the Arts. Eldridge, who is chairman of the board for LowellArts, said not a whole has changed over the years. The first festival attracted 70 artisans while the 2016 line-up includes 101. As a juried art festival, all booths include high quality wares that are handmade. “Our artists come from as far as Indiana and Illinois,” Eldridge said.


Hito Akehi, who offers origami classes, helps a group of boys fold paper frogs that hop.

In addition to the fine arts, the festival features food booths manned by area churches and non-profit organizations. From traditional festival fare like elephant ears from the Alto Lions Club to unique offerings like the pumpkin bisque from the Lowell First United Methodist Church, there’s a little something for everyone.

In the pavilion sponsored by All-Weather Seal, artisans offer demonstrations that cover wood-carving, glass beadwork and weaving. Some even provide hands-on opportunities to make origami or a mosaic to take home.

Meanwhile, on the main stage, music plays all day in front of tables set up for visitors to eat and enjoy the bands. Nearby, the LowellArts tent stands ready to assist visitors to the festival. People can pick up information, buy raffle tickets for one of 90 prizes or learn more about the organization’s Moving to Main Street campaign.

For those who missed the fun today, the Fallasburg Arts Festival runs from 10am-5pm on Sunday as well.

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