Festifall Arts Markets & More, a showcase of local and regional artists, artisans and performers, will return to Chapel Hill for three successive Saturdays, starting October 8.
Planned by Chapel Hill Community Arts and Culture, the annual festival was often held as a one-day event before 2021, said Melissa Bartoletta, community arts and culture marketing and communications coordinator. Last year, events took place on multiple weekends in the city center rather than at one location due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Bartoletta said that this year Festifall will also take place over multiple weekends in response to community concerns about congestion on Franklin Street.
When community arts and culture programming was closed during the COVID-19 pandemic, they conducted open forum polls on how future events could be improved for Chapel Hill residents, Bartoletta said. .
She said residents have expressed a desire to see more frequent, smaller-scale art experiences that don’t completely block the flow of downtown traffic.
“We’ve held three different events throughout October that have less of a footprint on Chapel Hill,” Bartoletta said.
She added that this year only Church Street will be closed for Festifall.
Each Festifall market will also be expanded through the multi-weekend format, she said. There will be separate lineups for October 8, 15 and 22, with more than 30 vendors each weekend, Bartoletta said.
This year, vendors include Gilded Lily Glass, Orange County Artists Guild and Red Oak Wood Shop. Food and beverages will also be provided by several local businesses, including Carolina Brewery and LocoPops.
Bartoletta said that in addition to supporting Orange County creatives, festival attendees will participate in an interactive and participatory experience.
For example, attendees can attend live painting and drumming sessions with the Living Arts Collective, a printmaking workshop hosted by UNC School of Government design director Robby Poore, and three separate community wall stations. animated by local artists.
One of the workshop facilitators is Mayanthi Jayawardena, a digital illustrator, videographer, muralist and founder of Durham-based art company Serendib Creative.
Jayawardena said she will lead one of the community’s mural-making events and guide participants of all ages to contribute to a self-contained mural. The mural will respond to an invitation related to the acceptance of the changes of seasons and life.
“People can come and create their own piece of art or message by following my prompt and in the end it will be this beautiful community piece that everyone has contributed to,” Jayawardena said.
Many musical ensembles and soloists are also scheduled at Festifall, including folk singer Vito di Bona, folk-groove artist J Candeed and acoustic duo Angela and Will.
Several college ensembles, including the Carolina Ukulele Ensemble, the Tarpeggios and Moonlight Dance Crew, will also perform.
Crystal Wu, head of marketing and development communications for Arts Everywhere, said the October 8 market will have a greater focus on student art since it coincides with Carolina Family Weekend.
Arts Partout, sponsor of the Festifall, is an initiative that aims to integrate the arts into university life.
Wu said Arts Everywhere’s sponsorship of Festifall also hopes to create a space where members of the UNC arts scene can forge creative connections with the wider Chapel Hill community.
“We want to foster and strengthen our relationship between community members and people on campus so that we all feel included in this shared and creative life that we lead,” Wu said.
Festifall will take place from 1 to 6 p.m. on October 8, 15, and 22 at 140 W. Franklin St., and is free and open to the public. The schedule of vendors and numbers is available on Festifall’s website.
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