High­land’s Fes­ti­val of the Trail fo­cuses on art

Oct. 13 event was held on a beau­ti­ful fall day this year

Post Tribune (Sunday) - - News - By Sue Ellen Ross Post-Tri­bune

Or­ga­niz­ers of this year’s re­cent Fes­ti­val of the Trail breathed a sigh of re­lief when they saw the sun shin­ing brightly as they set up shop. But they did have a Plan B on tap just in case.

“Last year, we had re­ally bad weather — rain, thunder and light­ning, so we had to shut down,” said Julie Larsen of the High­land Re­de­vel­op­ment Com­mis­sion, who worked with High­land Main Street to put the Oct. 13 event to­gether. “This year, we were ready to move (to Zand­stra’s Farm and Green­house on Cline Av­enue) if we had to.”

Although the tem­per­a­ture was nowhere near the sum­mer at­mos­phere vis­i­tors en­joyed just a week be­fore, it turned out to be a beau­ti­ful fall day, not a hint of mois­ture any­where.

Thir­teen ven­dors lined Jewett Street, with a farm­ers mar­ket sit­u­ated at the front of the ac­tion.

“I came to look at the art they ad­ver­tised, but I had to stop and pick up a few veg­gies first,” said Lynn Jar­mon, of High­land, as she glanced through the dis­play of toma­toes, pep­pers and other items on the long ta­ble. “Then I’ll take my time to look through the art booths. I’m al­ways amazed at what great artis­tic tal­ent we have lo­cally, and I’m sure I’ll go home with some­thing for my home.”

A few t h i n g s h ave evolved since the ini­tial event be­gan five years ago.

“The fes­ti­val changed its for­mat to fea­ture artists and art-re­lated ven­dors only,” said Lance Ryskamp, High­land Re­de­vel­op­ment Com­mis­sion as­sis­tant. ” This is also the first year that the fes­ti­val will take place on Jewett Street. Last year’s event in the same lo­ca­tion was rained out.”

In con­junc­tion with the fes­ti­val, an open house at the High­land Fire Sta­tion on High­way Av­enue greeted hun­dreds of vis­i­tors.

“We just moved to High­land from Ohio and we re­ally love it here,” Se­lena Richards said as her fam­ily took a break for snacks be­fore head­ing to the fire sta­tion. “There’s al­ways some­thing go­ing on and ev­ery­one is so friendly.”

Also on the day’s agenda was a Teen Art Show, staged in­side the High­land Pub­lic Li­brary on Jewett Street.

Re­gan Bianchi, of Gary, set up her dis­play of col­ored-pen­cil draw­ings on the front wall of the li­brary’s Com­mu­nity Room.

“This (ex­hibit) gives me a chance to ex­hibit my art, some­thing I haven’t been able to do be­fore,” she said. “I’m glad the li­brary gave me this op­por­tu­nity.”

Nine teenage en­trants sub­mit­ted 33 pieces of art, ac­cord­ing to Sarah Mercier, High­land Li­brary’s teen li­brar­ian.

“Our Teen Ad­vi­sory group meets reg­u­larly, and they came up with the idea of of­fer­ing the show,” she added. “We de­cided that it would not be a com­pe­ti­tion — just a show­case of the great lo­cal tal­ent we have here — a place to ex­press them­selves.”

The pur­pose of devel­op­ing an an­nual Fes­ti­val of the Trail, with the lo­ca­tion near High­land’s bike trail, was to at­tract more foot and bike traf­fic into the down­town area, ac­cord­ing to Ryskamp.

“We would like to have res­i­dents and vis­i­tors come and en­joy lo­cal art, mu­sic and food, to see what Down­town High­land has to of­fer,” he said. “This (fes­ti­val) was one way to reach out and do that.”

All of the down­town events on this day served as the fi­nale to High­land’s ob­ser­vance of Down­town De­vel­op­ment Week, or­ga­nized by In­di­ana’s Of­fice of Com­mu­nity and Ru­ral Af­fairs, Ryskamp added.

Sue Ellen Ross is a free­lance re­porter for the Post-Tri­bune.

SUE ELLEN ROSS/POST-TRI­BUNE

Lor­rraine Brown, of High­land, right, and her grand­daugh­ter Kaylee, 6, of St. John, en­joyed the Fes­ti­val of the Trail.

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