ARTapalooza invades Main Street

ALLISON MAZZARELLA, Staff Writer

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Jazz music drifted through the streets in downtown Cedar Falls as crowds gathered on Main Street for ARTapalooza this past Saturday.  

The annual fine arts event, which took place from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., featured local vendors, their tents and booths lining the street, offering a variety of handmade crafts.

“It’s a good community event,” said Sarah Hanna, sophomore and biology major at UNI.  “Everyone gets together and looks at local artists and musicians.  They’re all unique and different.”  

At one end of the block, bystanders grooved to a street musician, a jazz combo at the other end, and everything one could think of in between.  

Booths laden with a variety of items for sale, all from wine tasting to wood carvings, handcrafted jewelry, stained glass, pottery, scarves, hats, metal sculptures and much more.  Sun catchers shone and chimed in the wind, and colors abounded as a many of the booths contained bright paintings, watercolors, and photographs.  Each tent and booth was filled with passersby milling around and enjoying the local products.

The event celebrated Iowa and its lifestyle as many of the items for sale were portrayals of Iowa life.  Cutting boards shaped like pigs or the state itself, paintings of rural countryside, cornfields, and barns, as well as photographs of the Waterloo and Cedar Falls downtown provided the event with a local feel.

“It’s cool to see all of the local artists,” said Maddy Husome, an interactive digital studies major.  “It’s great to see everyone out.  I think it’s really awesome how they [community events] get all of these people together.”

There was something for just about everyone and every age.  Activities geared towards a younger crowd consisted of a tarp on the street that was filled with Legos for the creative mind to build, as well as face painting and an art booth that allowed kids to become artists. The booth served as an area for children to paint or draw a posing subject. 

There was a styrofoam wall in the middle of the street that anyone could walk up to and add their artistic flair.  The Waterloo Cedar Falls symphony had an instrument petting zoo, which provided percussion instruments and violins that children could pick up and play.  

Even early on in the day, the streets were already buzzing and crowded.  Besides allowing community members to reach new people, this event also drew many into the stores along Main Street.  With the shop doors hanging wide open, people could meander in and out of stores, which had their own merchandise and food to offer.

The pride of the vendors over their products was easily visible.  As they engaged with their customers in conversation, explaining their product, the detail and methods that went into making it, as well as possible uses, their enjoyment for their work was evident on their faces.

Each year, ARTapalooza is slightly different, however, the main objective is the same — to feature local artists, craftsmen and their work; and bring it to the community for others to enjoy and share in.

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