WESTERLY â€“ Crafters, artists and art enthusiasts filled Wilcox Park in Westerly on a sunny Memorial Day weekend for the Virtu Art Festival.
Vendors came from Rhode Island, Massachusetts, Connecticut and other nearby states to either exhibit their work at the festival or browse the stalls of more than 180 professional artists and crafters.
Michelle and Bill Champitto of Fresh Cut Glass came from Winthrop, Mass., to exhibit hand crafted stained and blown glass products in the park.
â€śItâ€™s a beautiful setting,â€ť Michelle Champitto said. â€śAnd it seems somewhat well-attended.â€ť
Angela Smith, cochairman of the Westerly-Pawcatuck Chamber of Commerce, which hosted the event, agreed that it was â€śquite successful.â€ť
â€śWe have great artists and crafts people here,â€ť Smith said. â€śThe artists enjoy coming because of the park setting, and thatâ€™s one of the reasons why they keep returning.â€ť
Smith said that a steady flow of people wandered amongst vendorsâ€™ stalls on both Saturday and Sunday when the festival was held. The festival has been held annually for the last 15 years.
â€śWeâ€™ve always had good attendance,â€ť Smith said. â€śPeople love to stroll through the beautiful park and it brings business to downtown Westerly.â€ť
Pat Giarrusso, owner of Peppermint Pattiâ€™s, based in Wakefield, attended the festival. Peppermint Pattiâ€™s sells personalized childrenâ€™s products such as blankets and towels. Giarrusso agreed that the festivalâ€™s location was a huge draw.
â€śItâ€™s a beautiful location,â€ť she said. â€śI donâ€™t want them to stop doing it.â€ť
In fact, some crafters said this was the only craft show they attend in Rhode Island.
The Crafty Peddler of Worcester, Mass., is one of those vendors. Deb Carrier, of The Crafty Peddler, sells unique glass wind chimes, some made from plates, beer bottles and the like.
â€śWe have a following [of customers] that do come,â€ť Carrier said. â€śBut we rely on new people as well.â€ť
Many locals continue to attend the festival and bring friends and family with them.
â€śIt was great,â€ť Randy Orlomoski of Westerly said. â€śIt was a perfect day for it. We come every year.â€ť
The Westerly-Pawcatuck Chamber of Commerce, along with vendors and visitors, were thankful for the continued use of Wilcox Park as the festivalâ€™s location.