Artscape opening proves to be a hot event for city

Patrons brave the heat to enjoy weekend of cultural offerings


News from around the Baltimore region

July 23, 2005|By Tyrone Richardson | Tyrone Richardson,SUN STAFF

The 24th annual Artscape festival opened at noon yesterday, drawing downtown office workers, college students and others who did not mind the high temperatures, which crept into the low 90s.

Yesterday marked the first time that Baltimore's annual celebration of arts and culture opened at noon on Friday. In the past, it's opened later in the day. As an incentive to draw festival-goers so early in the afternoon, food vendors and exhibitors offered discounted pricing.

Today, the festival will be open from noon to 10 p.m. and tomorrow from noon to 8 p.m.

Food appeared to be the big draw yesterday as many festival-goers congregated on the food court, where several dozen vendors offered cuisine ranging from crab cakes to Thai dishes.

FOR THE RECORD - An article in The Sun on Saturday about Artscape incorrectly identified the school attended by a group of first-grade students. They are in the summer program at Mount Royal Elementary/Middle School.
The Sun regrets the errors.

Nearby, office workers with suit jackets in hand peered through the many vendor tents on Mount Royal Avenue along with parents pushing strollers.

Ed Bishop, a city facilities worker stood near the line of a crab cakes stand, sipping bottled water and pondering what he was going to eat for lunch.

"I'm thinking crab cakes, but I might get something else," he said. "There is too much I can choose from."

Artscape is located in the city's Mount Royal neighborhood near the University of Baltimore and the Maryland Institute College of Art. Students from those schools and others roamed the food court, too, looking for food and a slice of shade from the beaming sun.

Sarah Duran, a graduate student at the University of Baltimore sat on a park bench under a tree with a friend, eating a sandwich. Duran, 38, said she was initially deterred from coming to the event because she heard about the large crowds the festival has drawn in the past. To avoid the congestion, she went early.

Duran, 38, said she came to the event to rest before going back into one of the university's libraries to finish studying for the state bar exam next week.

"I'm just taking a break," she said, as she nibbled on a sandwich and fought the temptation to stay longer -- it was the first time in a while she has not had her face in a textbook, studying.

Acie Williams, a classroom aide, led the way through the venue with more than a dozen first-grade students from Mount Washington Elementary School's summer program.

The group was among the scores of summer camp and city summer school students, who ran around, played games and ate ice cream.

Under yesterday's sweltering sun, ice cream quickly became the snack of choice.

Marilyn Oblak opened a stand for homemade ice cream at about 1 p.m. Business was booming at other ice cream stands that opened earlier so, Oblak, a University of Baltimore faculty member, said she was bracing for high volume of sales.

Kimmy Cantrell, a sculpture and mixed-media vendor, said she expected things to pick up later in the day as more people got off from work.

"It's a slow start," he said. "People don't come out until later ... right now, you just got a handful of people passing."

Cantrell said people were just stopping by to see what he had, and he was confident they would be back.

He said this is his fifth year as a vendor, and the event has been rewarding for vendors and festival-goers seeking live entertainment on stage.

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