Manayunk Arts Festival returns with local artists thrilled to be back

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- From arts and crafts to jewelry, housewares and more, the 32nd Annual Manayunk Arts Festival kicks off Saturday.

It's a tradition that showcases local talent, but also brings people to Main Street to enjoy everything Manayank has to offer.

Things will look a little different this year, but the festival is back and they are thrilled!

It will be smaller, with about 100 artists setting up in six lots to make sure everyone stays healthy and safe.

Organizers are so happy to bring back one of Manayunk's most treasured events and the focus this year is on all of the hidden gems and unique items made by hand right here in our area.

"This year we're about one third the size and we're much more hyperlocal," said Joan Denenberg, from the Manayunk Arts Festival. "We just felt for our small businesses and for the artists. We needed to do something and we didn't want to let another year go without it."

This is also a big event for Manayunk and a chance for other small businesses to get some foot traffic.

"It brings people who maybe haven't been to Manayunk in a while," said Denenberg. "It brings an art lover, who's always a good customer. Last year, we all really felt the loss of the festival."

Colin Maher from South Philadelphia creates 2D mixed media designs with his wife. They've been vendors at the festival for the past 10 years and he's thrilled to be back and in person.

"This is a cultural day that's unique in Philadelphia," he said. "It's not just like you're going to museums and seeing static things on a wall. You're seeing artists, emerging artists, and you're really engaging with art directly, which is not something that you normally do."

This year's Arts Festival will be Rachel Corson from Narberth's first time. She makes ceramic jewelry and other items in a line called Hollybanks Lane.

"I am excited to show off my pieces as an artist," she said. "You kind of need that interaction with customers and talking to people. I don't think I can put into words how excited I am."

It's also Shalaya Holliday's first time at the festival as well. The North Philly graphic designer is part of the Emerging Artists Program.

"It's a program that gathers new artists together to encourage them to start doing shows and sell their art and get confidence in what they're doing," she said.

This is the tri-state's largest outdoor arts festival and they hope to return to the regular event next year.

To get visitors to the six lots stationed across Manayunk, there will be a trolley.

The Manayunk Arts Festival runs June 26 and June 27, 2021.
Copyright © 2021 WPVI-TV. All Rights Reserved.