The sounds, sights and smells coming from Washington Street were invigorating on Saturday, May 14.
The third annual Art and Music Fest was held at Huddy Park from noon until 5 p.m. with crafts, photography and music mixing nicely on the river, while the Food Fest was held from 11 a.m. until about 9 p.m. on Washington Street with many foodies getting their fill of local treats.
The Food Fest and the Art and Music Fest were held on the same day, a first for the community. It was a chance for Toms River residents to enjoy both events within walking distance of the other.
Areleen Read, marketing director for the Downtown River Business Improvement Office, spoke at the event about the history of the two festivals: "This is the third year that we are having the Art and Music Fest. Several years ago we would visit the different galleries and museums in Downtown Toms River, but we decided to put it all together and have the Arts and Music Festival instead."
Read, who was helping patrons at the information tent, talked about the different kind of music they had on the bill for the day: "We have the culture here today, with the African Dance Lady band performing as well as a keyboardist performing earlier in the day. We have jazz set for later in the day."
Read also spoke about the many artists displaying their work along the Huddy Park banks: "We have the artist and this year we have the juried crafters here for the first time and it appears to be working very well."
The Art and Music Fest was usually held on a day by itself, but this year it was decided to do something different in conjunction with the Food Fest: "Founders Day was always the first weekend in June. This year, they decided to change the whole venue and make it the Food Fest for the first time ever, so both events would be held on the same day in Downtown."
The lineup for the Arts and Music Fest featured three different musical acts starting at 12:30 p.m.
Harold Frazee opened the festivities with his dazzling keyboard skills. He was followed at 1: 30 p.m. by the African Dance Lady group , who danced the afternoon away. The last music for the day was the XL Band, who rocked the crowd.
Among the 36 artist contributors at the event many brought unique and eye-catching crafts. Felice Carrero-Schmidt of Charming Book Clips was among the many talented vendors displaying her fabulous book mark.
Her invention is more than a book mark, with a clip, charm and ribbon all in one to hold the page on your favorite novel without ever falling out of the book. She spoke about her passion for reading and her inspiration for her product: "My family and I are were all avid readers and I was tired of losing my bookmark. All the ones that claimed to attach to the book and they never seemed to work. I like to read in bed and I would always be hunting for a paper bookmark in bed or in the sheets and I could never find it. So I decided to make a bookmark that would attach to the book. I had this idea and design and I thought for sure someone would have thought about it by now. I used to make these for my family and people saw them and started asking were they could get them."
Carrero-Schmidt, who has a patent pending on her design, described her invention as many visitors came to her stand wanting to know more about it: "It's based on a classic ribbon bookmark, but the difference is that this has a sterling silver plated clip attached to the ribbon that you use to attach to the book cover. All of the components are based on jewelry-type components."
Check out some of her 54 designs at www.charmingbookclips.com.
Another talented artist at the event was Jean LeBaron. Her oils and acrylic on canvas were on sale as well as her hand-made books. "I started when I was about 13 years-old. I'm 99 percent self taught and my inspiration changes with the day. Something catches my eye, I want to make a statement, capturing light; pretty much just living."
LeBaron had a few of her floral and seascape designs at the event along with a few abstract paintings along with her handmade books. Her work can be viewed at www.jeanlebaronart.com.
Danielle Burke was also displaying her works which have already been seen at one time or another.
"I recycle art," Burke said. "I recycle old vinyl and bowling balls. Usually I turn old vinyl records into bowls, bird feeders and pinwheels, but I have started making wine charms for wine glasses." Burke, who also makes bracelets, said she needed a creative package at a cookie exchange and so her idea for using records as art was born.
Joy Nokes also attended the festival. Her medium is pottery and her art varies depending on the type of process she uses.
"I went through the Toms River school system and my art instructor in high school was a potter. I now teach at Monmouth County for children's drawing and pottery." Nokes said. Her work is considered alternative firing, processes called Raku and Sagar firing which develop a lot of strong, metallic colors. She also has a line of Stone Wear which has a gloss finish and is food safe.
Nokes said that is usually takes 2 to 3 weeks from start to finish for some of her pottery. To view more of her work you can contact her on Facebook or through the Monmouth County Parks System where she teaches pottery.
The Food Fest featured artists in a different field only their art can be eaten. Many local vendors lined the streets downtown in between the Library and the street front. The event featured free face painting outside of the Library and a main stage for live music.
In front of the music stage was a Beer Garden, which was popular. Brasas BBQ, Wild Bill's Old Fashioned Soda, Carousel Crepes and Cunningham's Seafood were among the more popular food outlets. Gregory's Seafood, Mediterranean Foods, Kettle Corn and Nino's Coal Fired Pizza were to the left of the stage. To the right of the stage you could find a pickle and deli stand, cupcake stand and another kettle corn stand.
To the end of the festival were a few stands not relating to food, but still important companies or organizations in the town. Honda of Toms River, Girl Scouts of the Jersey Shore, Verizon Wireless, Ocean County Recycling and Wound Warriors.
On May 21, Huddy Park will host the Chili and Salsa Cook-Off.