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Art Fest draws up family fun

PORT GAMBLE — It was a truly family affair for many at the 46th annual Kitsap Arts & Crafts Festival last weekend.

Whether it was children helping their artistic parents sell their goods or parents pounding away on the instruments in the children’s corner with their kids, there was something for everyone to take part in.

The Turner family of Poulsbo was one of many enjoying the atmosphere. As they made their way through festival, dad Tim Turner pointed out that the group attends the Port Gamble event annually.

“I enjoy the art buildings where you get to judge and the food and the music,” he said. “It’s just a fun day.”

Potter Jamie Zach of Alderleaf Pottery was hosting his own booth for the first time at the festival but he wasn’t alone. His daughter Hannah, 11, was helping sell her dad’s and her older sister, Sarah’s, wares. The eldest daughter in the Zach family, Jessica, 19, was also one of this year’s recipients of the festival’s scholarship foundation.

“Thankfully to her parents, well, thankfulness,” Jamie said with a chuckle.

Jamie was a scholarship winner of the festival in the late 1970s, but this was the first year he had the chance to set up a booth with his wife, Sue.

“We work together well as team,” Zach said. “She knows the other half of town that I don’t.”

Young artist Ashley Blazina was another one of this year’s scholarship winners. She plans to study creative writing, studio and maybe journalism at Seattle University. In 2004, she entered her artwork into the festival but decided to go for a scholarship this year.

“I had a really good experience with this festival,” she said. “It’s a great place to have it.”

Blazina encouraged other artists to enter their work into the annual event and not to be nervous about it. Last year, she even sold a drawing of Marvin Gaye she had entered into the festival.

Guest artist and juror Michael Riedel was hanging out in the Walker Ames House with his daughter, Chyna. Reidel worked with this year’s other guest artists/jurors Lisa Stirrett and Kenny Smith to choose the winners of the juried show.

“We worked really well together,” he said. “It was cool. Kind of off the bat, it was unanimous.”

A fashion and beauty photographer as well as an instructor at the Art Institute of Seattle, Riedel was a bit disappointed in the amount of photography that was submitted for the show.

“It just didn’t seem like it was that well represented,” he said, as the number of paintings far outnumbered the number of photographs. “It would be nice if there was more to look at.”

But that didn’t seem to turn visitors away. Event publicist Mary Graves estimated that close to 20,000 people attended the three-day festival, with a surprisingly large crowd on the first day.

“(It’s the) first time we’ve ever seen that kind of crowd on a Friday,” she said.

There was also increase in the number of people who dedicated their time to the event this year, too, she said.

“We have gotten a lot of new volunteers that are just as devoted and excited (as the longtime volunteers),” Graves said. “It’s just been a great year for Kitsap Arts & Crafts.”

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