Mantua – Also this Saturday, the 13th annual Art on the Hill festival is taking place at Prospect Street and State Route 44 in Mantua. “We have a great mix of artisans this year,” said event organizer Christine Pitsinger. “At 80 artisans, it’s a record number for us, with many new artisans joining us this year.”
The festival offers a variety of food options, local restaurants – including Jake’s Restaurant, R44 Butcher & Baker and Kira’s Sweet Bakes as well as food trucks also offering a variety of options.
Additionally, the festival will feature wine tastings from four area wineries: CLE Urban Winery in Cleveland Heights, West Main Street Winery in Ravenna, Old Peck House in Mantua and Feisty Brood Meadery in Northfield. Each establishment will offer tastings to adult visitors, as well as the possibility of buying full bottles.
In addition to a Chinese auction of items from local sellers, this year’s festival will also include the opportunity for artists of all ages and abilities to participate in the outdoor competition. Registered artists may complete their works from 10 a.m. to noon that day to be considered for judging. Newly created pieces will be judged and may be sold at auction, with profits split between the artist and the DMRC.
As in previous years, there will be a photo contest for young people and adults in several categories. In addition to the chance to win cash prizes, winning entries can be featured in a Mantua-themed calendar, the purchase of which supports DMRC’s efforts.
The all-day festival also features entertainment, musical performances and a children’s tent full of activities for younger visitors. The Merchant Circle features local businesses and services, including the Portage Park Foundation, the American Legion, and area businesses.
With ample free parking (especially near Advanced Rehab on nearby Mill Street) and free admission, the one-day event is sure to have something for the whole family. “The event takes place rain or shine and is a wonderful place to find unique gifts for friends or items for yourself,” Pitsinger added.
“This is DMRC’s primary fundraising effort,” Pitsinger explained. The DMRC funds projects throughout the village, making improvements to Buchert Park, helping fund sidewalk projects and other initiatives not possible with the village’s limited budget. “It takes a lot of sponsors to make the event possible, and we appreciate every single one of them,” she noted. The event also runs smoothly thanks to a host of volunteers.
The event started a dozen years ago, an idea shared by Pitsinger and Becky Newell. The two friends shared the idea of organizing an art festival to bring people to Mantua. Although they had no experience and no funding, they got the cooperation of many to help make the festival what it is today. When Newell left the area, Pitsinger continued to run the festival, with Terri Vechery joining to help in recent years. Sadly, Newell passed away last year, leaving a hole in the hearts of those who knew her. In her honor, the Becky Newell Award will be given this year to a local person who goes above and beyond to support the community, just as Newell did.
The festival takes place in the heart of Mantua at Prospect Street and State Route 44. For more information about Art on the Hill, call (330) 414-6486.
Photomontage courtesy of Art on the Hill/DMRC