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'A Piece of My Home:' People's Choice Fest Offers Unique Art of All Kinds

by on July 10, 2015 6:15 AM

The lawn of the Pennsylvania Military Museum was filled with hustle and bustle as the People’s Choice Festival of Pennsylvania Arts and Crafts got underway on Thursday.

Crowds admired everything from paintings to hand carved furniture, but Ginny Good of Adamstown, sitting in the shade of her tent, was simply minding her own beeswax – literally.

Good, one of the 200 artists from across Pennsylvania at the festival, carves and paints whimsical beeswax sculptures infused with cinnamon oil. She says most people that come into her tent are attracted first by the delectable cinnamon smell, and break into smiles when they realize where the aroma is coming from.

“This is a historic craft dating back to the 1600s in Germany,” Good says. “Many people when they come in say they’ve never seen anything like this before. I’m helping promote this craft and keep it alive.”

Jim Maguire of McElhattan says little oddities like carved beeswax are the kind of “unique, one-of-a-kind things you can’t find in a store” that make the People’s Choice Fest so special. He and his wife run a restaurant and gift shop back home, and they sell a number of crafts from artists they’ve met at the festival.

He says the people’s choice festival is a real win-win-win situation: Pennsylvania artists have a respected show at which to sell their work; the local economy gets a big boost from all the visitors; and festival goers get to experience the wide range of art made in Pennsylvania all in one place. 

Andre Maiwald, a Perkasie resident originally from Germany, was another one of the artists at the festival. The sign above his tent promised “unique birdhouses” – and he delivered on that promise.

Each birdhouse has a different twisting aesthetic that comes from that natural attributes of the wood. Maiwald says he goes into his work “with no ideas, no plan” and simply follows the flow of the wood, allowing it to shape the final product. 

He started his craft only five years ago after moving from Germany to be closer to his daughter, and now has such a mastery over woodworking he’s moved on to other endeavors. One of the items in his tent is a whimsical carving of the titular character from the movie Rango, carved especially for his granddaughter.

“This is wood that most people just throw in a fire,” Maiwald says, gesturing to his birdhouses. “I take it, make something of it, and give it back to nature.”

Boalsburg resident June Walter was at the festival to get some of her Christmas shopping done a few months early – and judging from the number of bags she was holding, her quest for unique gifts was a resounding success.

“I love that this is all art from Pennsylvania,” Walter says. “When I give someone a gift I got here, it’s like I’m giving them a piece of my home.”

 

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Michael Martin Garrett is a reporter and editor for StateCollege.com who covers local government, the courts, the arts and writes the Keeping the Faith column. He's a Penn State alumnus, a published poet and the bassist in a local indie rock band.
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State College Music Legends Reunite to Carry On Arts Fest Tradition
July 10, 2015 6:00 AM
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