For two days out of the year, Main Street in East Aurora, N.Y., transforms into a maze of white tents bursting with art and jewelry from local artists and artisans. This year the famous Roycroft Festival took place June 25 and 26
, and although the weather seemed to change on an hourly basis, the turnout was still fantastic.
Walking through aisles of tents, seeing artisans present their work to locals and people from out of town, made me feel like I was in medieval times, where jewelers and metal workers made their living off their work alone. Besides having the privilege of knowing the Master Roycroft Artisan Laura Wilder
, I also experienced great festival food.
Usually, as far as festivals and carnivals go, the norm for food is hotdogs, pizza, hamburgers, frozen bananas and barely any wiggle room for vegetarians. But this year, like a beacon in the dark, I saw a tent that sold artichokes French! I just had to try some, and believe me, as a vegetarian who has quite the background with artichokes in general, these were top notch. First sauteed in olive oil and lemon juice, then sprinkled with parmesan cheese, and to top it off with a couple slices of French baguette — these were mouth-watering deliciousness.
With food in hand, we walked around tents and saw the amazing variety of artwork. From handmade glass beads to wildlife sculptures carved out of old driftwood, this festival had it all. Plus, there was live music — a local bluegrass band, of which my uncle is the guitar and violin player.
I found a tent that sold puzzle art,
and I could not resist buying a cute gator figurine that is really a puzzle when you look closely at it. What I appreciate about the Roycroft Festival is the common theme that seems to flow from artist to artisan, and that is the appreciation for local support of their work. Also, many artists, such as Laura Wilder, capture nature in their works, which is a win for the environmentalist in each of us.
Next time you find yourself in Western New York in early summer, check out the Roycroft Festival; I assure you, you will have a good time. With good live music, good food and fun artwork, who needs a dinner and a movie?
Photos: Katherine Bailey