EAST PALESTINE - Combining his passion for art with his passion to see the park being utilized more Nathan Foster is organizing a new festival in town.
An artist who appreciates mixed media such as painting and sculptures, Foster not only enjoys making art, but watching others create as well.
"I went to art festivals and festivals in general over the years and I thought, 'Why couldn't we do something like this at the park?'" he said.
The art shows he attended weren't the typical kind, with art displayed on walls for people to look at as they walked by, but rather, live exhibits in which artists created in real time as spectators looked on.
Foster has organized the Creepy Hollows Haunted Trails in the park the last few years (and is again this year), and wanted to organize another event to draw more people to the park.
"The park needs to be used more. It doesn't get used enough, I don't think," he said.
The new Arts and Crafts Festival is scheduled for 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sept. 2, with art displays and food available at the Community Center and other exhibits set up throughout the park.
Foster has been a member of the park board the last three years and said he has noticed kids in town showing an interest in what is known as the "art scene."
"A lot of young kids in town are into art, playing music, and the coffee shop downtown. I figure we could do something for local artists and surrounding areas," he said.
The Coffee Stop opened on North Market Street in June, and was one of many new businesses to open this summer in town. Others were EP Fight Club, Jay's Classic Cut Shop, Serendipity, Unique Gifts, Stitches and Stuff Embroidery and Graphics, J&D's Hometown Grill and Bakery, Bee's Antiques and Flea Market and the Rustic Trunk.
Foster's plans include what he calls an "art fusion experiment" at the gazebo. The experiment, he explained, is when six different artists begin painting or drawing on six different easels at the same time and switch off every three to five minutes. The end result is six different art creations that are the work all the artists.
"I think the artists who are there will be different than (those at) typical arts and crafts shows. I think it will be fun," he said.
He already has live, mostly acoustic, musical entertainment lined up for the event, and is currently looking for more arts and crafts and even commercial vendors.
The event has already been approved by the park board and village council, and Foster said the $25 vendor fee will go directly back to the park, with the proceeds earmarked for a new diving board at the swimming pool.
Vendors will each get a 12-by-12-foot outdoor space and are responsible for their own tables and tents. Checks should be made payable to Friends of the Park and mailed to Foster at 456 W. Martin St., East Palestine. He can also be reached by phone at 330-426-2347.
Set up time is scheduled for 8 a.m. to 10 a.m. that morning.
Musical entertainment throughout the day will consist of John Cline, Hannah Pasco, Ben Flint, and Joint Effort, with members of Reign of One. Another individual has also shown an interest but has not been confirmed yet, Foster said.
The event is free to the public and will be held rain or shine.