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Mare’s Wares Arts Fest to draw big crowds July 1

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MORRISTOWN – Experience the arts and celebrate the arrival of summer at the sixth annual Mare’s Wares Arts Fest Monday.

The back yard at Mare’s Wares Pottery, 3938 Route 37, will be transformed from noon to 8 p.m. into an outdoor gallery and entertainment venue hosting music, food, wineries, artisans and demonstrators.

The festival attracts upwards of 2,000 residents of Morristown, the surrounding areas, and Canada.

Each year the festival gets bigger and better. The event began in 2008, when it had 12 vendors. This year, more than 75 artists will be displaying and selling their art in a wide range of mediums, including pottery, jewelry, quilts, wine tasting, and woodworks. The event will even include a psychic or two.

“Artisans and participants are by invitation only now,” organizer Karan M. Cross said. “We try to get a little bit of everything, so we do not overload in each category.”

In addition to the usual favorites, the festival will feature unique treasures such as handcrafted leather and flutes to homemade, organic dog treats.

The arts festival is about celebrating the arts and creativity in all its various forms, be it food, wine, bread making, wool spinning, or growing organic produce, Ms. Cross said.

“We began with the idea of promoting local art, and it snowballed from there,” Mare’s Wares owner Mary Ann Evans said. “We found that there was so much hunger for diverse artwork.”

Demonstrations will include pottery wheel work, raku firing, rug hooking with Helen Condon, chair caning with Bill Balling, and Tracy Cox of Inlay Design Studio and Custom Guitars will be demonstrating with custom stringed instrument design and inlay.

This year, children’s activities and entertainment will include Home Again Farm’s alpacas, Fragile Planet Wildlife Foundation with a selection of exotic creatures, pony rides, face painting, and puppet shows available throughout the day.

No matter how big the event becomes, it will always be about the artists, the organizers said.

One of the driving forces behind setting up the artisan part of the show with higher-end, quality handcrafted products was the group, Artisans of the River Valley. The group formed over six years ago hoping for a better local and public venue for their artwork beyond a craft fair.

As it was when it first began, the arts festival is free to the public.

“Mare’s Wares is all about sharing creativity and promoting everybody,” Ms. Evans said. “If you’ve got a creative talent, let us help you get it out there. We’re networkers in the art community. We find like people who like ‘like’ things. This is a great event for all people who like pottery, artwork, music, good food, books, and entertainment.”

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