We made a short visit to the Alexandria Art Festival on King Street this afternoon. This is our third year visiting this festival, which takes place in all kinds of weather from rain and cold to hot and humid. Today was just about perfect: sunny, about 70 degrees, not bad at all. Despite the crowds, it still seemed like something was missing.
In past years, the festival has had live music and mood was happy. This year, though the crowds were larger, there was no music, little laughing, and people walked through it quietly.
Some of the usual talented artists were there with colorful work.
These bright works were giving some fun to the children that passed by.
Generally, the artists seemed to be less than happy about the day. It’s a difficult way to make money: it rained yesterday, which meant that the artists basically had just today to make enough sales to exceed what they paid to be part of this festival. Perhaps that has something to do with the somber mood this afternoon.
My wife, also an artist felt that there was less variety this year. There were many fewer glass artists and fiber artists, and the jewelry seemed to be limited to gold and silver, with just one using glass and one with wire mesh that we saw. We also saw very few artists from this area. Most seemed to be from Florida, Texas and North Carolina. Almost everywhere except Virginia or DC.
My hat’s off to the artists who show up at this outdoor festival year after year. It’s hard work with lots of travel, and their success is at the mercy of the weather. Yet each year they return to King Street to show us some of their best work, and to remind us that art is an important part of our lives.