Thousands enjoy annual Arbutus Arts Festival

Customers and vendors thankful for warm temperatures and clear skies

  • Raymond and Terry Beach came to Arbutus from Elkridge to check out the hundreds of handmade crafts for sale at the Arbutus Art Festival, while their friend, Beanie, enjoyed the funnel cake.
Raymond and Terry Beach came to Arbutus from Elkridge to check… (Photo by Phil Grout, Photo…)
May 18, 2011|By Brian

Pillowy cumulus clouds and temperatures around 80 degrees delighted the thousands of visitors and hundreds of vendors during the 38th annual Arbutus Arts Festival on May 15.

The warm spring weather stayed with the event, which started at 10 a.m., until it closed at 5 p.m.

About 90 minutes later, the skies opened.

"The weather's been a great surprise," said Susan-Marie Stedman, as she showed off some of the inventory of Rainbow Moon Tie-Dye, a company that sells bags, shirts and other psychedelic items.

"I wasn't expecting it to be this warm," she said. "I usually bring lots of hats because people come to these things and then their kids are like, 'Mommy, it's too bright.'

"I didn't bring them because I didn't expect to see the sun, but it's been good."

John Lally, who, with his wife Kathy, are 15-year veteran vendors of the Arbutus Arts Festival, said business at their tent featuring custom-painted mailboxes, decorative tins and piggy banks was brisk.

"(Business) is almost as good as last year, and last year was pretty good because of the weather," John Lally said as his wife painted a plastic bucket. "We lucked out today because the rain stopped.

"It's all a numbers game of how many people walk by the booth."

A consistent stream of people walked from the Superfresh grocery store parking lot at 5200 East Drive at one end of the festival to the area in front of the Hollywood Movie Theater at 5509 Oregon Ave. at the other end.

So many people came to the festival, cars were parked on both sides of Sulphur Spring Road and stretched nearly a quarter mile from Southwestern Boulevard to Waelchli Avenue.

Nichole Howard of Halethorpe, who has attended the event three times, braved the crowd and said she had a good time.

"Last year, the weather was ridiculously hot. This year, it's perfect," said Howard, who purchased a garden basket. "I'm pretty happy with everything. All the vendors are great."

Gloria Leimkuhler, of Arbutus, has attended the Arbutus Arts Festival for 31 years and her husband, Steve, has made it to all of them.

"We have some new vendors, I think, now," said Gloria, as she showed off a decoration consisting of three butterflies with a piece that spun in the wind.

"It's nice. It's always nice," she said as she enjoyed a pina colada from the tiki bar, which was new this year and served non-alcoholic drinks. "We spend the whole day."

Sandy Sheubrooks said she didn't purchase as many arts and crafts as she normally does, but that wasn't because of a lack of quality at this year's event.

"I just don't have a place for a lot of it," said Sheubrooks, a Halethorpe resident who has attended the festival for about 30 years.

Her daughter, Rachel, 11, picked up a gift for her father for father's day and some crafts for herself.

"I got a lot of like jewelry, the water balloon and it's like a Tar Heels bracelet because I like the Tar Heels," said Rachel, who hopes to attend the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Just as it is for her mother, the festival is an annual tradition for Rachel.

"I always have to come," she said.

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