Those who come to the 39th annual Bethany Beach Boardwalk Arts Festival will have a chance not only to purchase a piece or two of art, but also to participate in art and help support budding local artists. Oh, and there’s the beach backdrop, too. (It’s hard to beat the beauty of the beach in September — it’s quite a masterpiece unto itself.)
This year’s event will include more than 100 fine artists who will be featuring paintings, woodwork, metal, clay, baskets, jewelry, porcelain and more. The show will be held on Saturday, Sept. 9, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on the boardwalk. The bandstand area is the epicenter of the event, but it spreads in both directions along the boardwalk and adjacent street ends.
The juried festival is popular with artists from the local area, as well as from around the country. This year, three local artists representing three different media will join the dozens of talented folk displaying their artistic wares on the boardwalk. They are: painter Arlene Bailor of Dagsboro, glass artist Lorelei Meanor of Lewes and photographer Darlene Freas of Dagsboro.
The arts festival has become a popular post-summer event for locals and visitors alike, according to Lauren Weaver, executive director of the Bethany-Fenwick Area Chamber of Commerce, which has hosted the event for nearly four decades.
“It’s a great day,” Weaver said, adding that the festival remains a strong piece of the Chamber’s efforts to support local businesses. “It’s part of our mission to extend our shoulder season for our businesses.”
Bethany Beach officials have estimated the festival brings about 8,000 people to the boardwalk each year, she said.
As he has for several years, local artist John Donato will be on hand with a work-in-progress to which festivalgoers will be encouraged to contribute. There are stencils to help guide the project along, so artists of all abilities can feel comfortable participating in the multi-panel project.
Visitors will also be invited to support young artists. Votes will be taken from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on five pieces of art created by local students who are vying for a $1,000 scholarship. The five have been chosen by a panel of local artists; the winner of the vote will be announced at 4 p.m., Weaver said.
The festival will also feature live music throughout the day and a silent auction from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. The proceeds from the auction benefit art programs at four local elementary schools.
Local organizations will also be on hand with information on area attractions and services, such as the Fort Miles historical site at Cape Henlopen State Park.
Parking is available throughout downtown Bethany Beach. Trollies will be operating on the normal weekend schedule. In addition, St. Ann’s Roman Catholic Church on Route 26, which is about a 10-minute walk from the boardwalk, is offering parking for festivalgoers.
Weaver said that, although the weather forecast as of mid-week was for perfect festival weather, the track of Hurricane Irma remained unknown, and visitors should check the Chamber’s website at https://thequietresorts.com/ for festival updates if the forecast changes.