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2013 Arts Festival Draws A Crowd To Fairfield Hills

Following Saturday’s rain and winds that interrupted the second annual Newtown Arts Festival at Fairfield Hills, Sunday’s sunshine warmed a large crowd on a brisk fall day.

Event Chair Terry Sagedy watched as guests perused crafts booths, walked through art exhibits, and children played.

“It’s going great,” he said. The two-day arts festival on September 21-22 brought to a close eight days of art activities in town. The busy day Sunday was a “great culmination” for the events, and this year saw more than twice as many guests and vendors as last year’s debut, he said.

The festival’s visual centerpiece was a large white, domed walk-through sculpture — a pop-up architecture piece on loan from Yale School of Drama. Surrounding it were artist Joe Sorge’s metal sculptures. Arts Festival committee member Craig Harmeling smiled at the amount of activity Sunday. He had joined the committee as a way to help in the community, and found the day and the experience “Very satisfying.”

Ann Benore, who is campaigning to run for town clerk, greeted guests.

Holding his hand-painted pumpkin and rushing across the lawn was Nathaniel Card who said, “It’s a scary face.”

Handing out information about the VFW Post 308 in Newtown were Brady Miller, Commander James Rebman, and Brendan Dlouhy. Just a few steps away and seated at a table with paint brushes in hand were children Lehner Cole and Allison Holden, decorating pumpkins. Behind them with his paintings spread out for guests to view was resident Ryan Buchanan. One canvas and a skateboard were filled with a rainbow of spiral dripped paint. He used “regular house paint,” he said. Some of his work included indoor paint, latex, and plaster. His spiral work was called “Vertigo.”

Standing near the pop-up architecture and whipping a long red ribbon through the air was Tyler Hill. He and other children were playing at juggling, twirling sticks, hula hooping, and riding unicycles. Melissa Nowak tried her balance on the one-wheeled ride, while her friend Charlotte Cartelli soon picked up and swirled an looped a ribbon through the air.

Looking at one of the many paintings propped up on display were Cecile Benson and her daughter Noelle. At the Newtown International Center for Education (NICE) booth, Rilind Ahazo and Ellen Alto offered guests information. Emily Campbell, also with NICE, spoke with guests asking about the group.

Set up under an awning in the shade was Parul Patel of Newtown, applying henna tattoos while Sneha Mehta of Danbury watched the booth. With Ms Patel was Aron Roman, receiving a tattoo.

Outside in the sunshine Katie Murphy swung a hula hoop around her waist. Squeezing onto their mother Casey Ragan’s lap and smiling for the camera were Riley and Jake.

Johanna Tartaglia stood outside a booth made by Miles Ball of Newtown. He had created a Compu-Job Predict-A-Tron. He said the machine predicts “what you will be when you grow up.” Users approach the device as if it were an ATM machine, and answer questions. A “secret” person inside prompts users.

Racing by the Predict-A-Tron on unicycles were Oscar Llodra and Melissa Nowak. Heidi Untener helped Oscar balance while Kayla Nowak aided her sister.

Also taking advantage of unicycles and twirling flower sticks were Elijah Crehan and Maddie Patrick, thanks to the Newtown Jugglers & Circus Arts Club.

Near the entrance and food tents, local artist Jim Chillington, who in past months has painted a variety of Newtown and Sandy Hook scenes from his easel set up along the sidewalk, displayed many of his paintings of familiar settings.

Resident Jeanette Hubley displayed her photography in another booth, offering still lifes, nature scenes, and photo art.

The Newtown Arts Festival is coordinated through Newtown Cultural Arts Commission. Learn more at NewtownArtsFestival.com. While the date for the 2014 festival has not yet been announced, a call for artists issued by Newtown Arts Festival Artwork Selection Committee is a good indication that there will in fact be a third annual event presented next year.

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