Rich Howells

Wilkes-Barre will hold ‘safe and scaled down’ Fine Arts Fiesta on Public Square May 14-16

Wilkes-Barre will hold ‘safe and scaled down’ Fine Arts Fiesta on Public Square May 14-16
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Following a smaller version of the Cherry Blossom Festival at the beginning of the month, the city of Wilkes-Barre will present “a safe and scaled down” Fine Arts Fiesta on Public Square from 11 a.m.-7 p.m. on Friday, May 14 through Sunday, May 16.

According to a message posted on the festival’s website, this year’s free event “will include the artists’ market and sale, Wyoming Valley Art League members exhibition, Verve Vertu exhibition and sale, and the Northeastern Pennsylvania Bonsai Society exhibition and sale.” Masks and social distancing are required for all attendees.

“Sadly, it is not feasible due to current COVID-19 restrictions to have all the vast entertainment offerings, nor the family and children features. The very popular sumptuous food court also will not be appearing. Guests are asked to kindly support the vast array of restaurant options available downtown when visiting our artistic presentation as they too struggle to survive,” it continues.

“As with all things, there are specific costs incurred providing this presentation, and the board of directors is conducting the annual fund drive for financial support as well seeking corporate sponsors. A mailing was begun [on April 19] to past prospective contributors and supporters. The board asks the community to please consider lending support if possible. This past year has been a challenge in so many ways to so many, and we truly appreciate any consideration of support.”

That means no stages with live music, dancing, theatre, or poetry this time, which will certainly change the feel of the Fine Arts Fiesta, but it is better than nothing. 2020, which would have marked its 65th consecutive year, was the first time it was outright canceled rather than moved or postponed. It is “the most established festival of its kind in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania” and the city’s most popular event, typically showcasing over 50 artists and crafters and bringing up to 60,000 people to downtown Wilkes-Barre every year.

37 artist booths are listed for 2021 (see below), and in an effort to boost business to local restaurants, the second Diamond City Dine Out will be held the same weekend as the Fine Arts Fiesta, offering discounts and specials throughout the downtown area that can be seen on and the festival’s Facebook page.

In addition, the first-ever Sunsets on South Main will be held on Saturday, May 15, a new monthly outdoor happy hour at Midtown Village (40 S. Main St., Wilkes-Barre). This event will include live music and drinks from Susquehanna Brewing Company from 4 p.m.-7 p.m. in addition to pop-up shops from 1 p.m.-7 p.m. Sunsets on South Main continues on June 17, July 15, Aug. 19, and Sept. 16.

2021 Fine Arts Fiesta artists

Booth 1: Nik & Brenda Maximenko from Brodheadsville – old photograph restoration
Booth 2: Andrea Hoak from Harrisburg – guitar string jewelry
Booth 3: Jim and Lia Harmon from Ridge Manor, FL – jewelry
Booth 4: David Kline from Wilkes-Barre – wood
Booth 5: Ed Brownlee from Kalamazoo, MI – ceramics
Booth 6: Robert Matteson from Fallston, MD – pencil and ink drawings
Booth 7: Fiona Thompson from Phoenixsville – copper Jewelry
Booth 8: John Paul Warren from Gilbertville – brooms
Booth 9: Carol and Cory Homick from Coopersburg – photography
Booth 10: Monika Figueroa from North Abington Township – jewelry
Booth 11: Pamela Lobst from Whitehall – glass jewelry
Booth 12: Georgie Lehoop from St. Clair – drum art
Booth 13: Roy and Krisann Bachert from Zionsville – pottery
Booth 14: Raymond Becker from Lititz – photography
Booth 15: Robert Vielee from South Abington Township – photography
Booth 16: Tina Traver from Clarks Summit – leather jewelry
Booth 17: Willie Trejbal from Wappingers Falls, NY – jewelry
Booth 18: Sandi Gebhart from Bethlehem – jewelry
Booth 19: Dennis Christie from Bethany – stained and leaded glass
Booth 20: Burton Aulisio from Lancaster – sci-fi art
Booth 21: Vad Pavliouk from Shelton, CT – glass
Booth 22: Jill Fielding from Malvern – glass
Booth 23: Igor Nasibyan from Erie – silhouettes
Booths 24 and 25: Dan Davenport from Millington, MI – aluminum giftware
Booth 26: Kevin Hart from Bellows Falls, VT – photography
Booth 27: Simon Xian Wen Zeng from Flushing, NY – painting
Booth 28: Liam Mccay from Bloomsburg – wood
Booth 29: John Kamerer from Gettysburg – photography
Booth 30: Kerry Rohrbach from Reading – mixed media jewelry
Booth 31: Diana Hydock from Freeland – mixed media
Booths 32 and 33: Sue and Dave Guzik from Pittston – mixed media mosaics
Booth 34: Marylin Handel and Hans Rein from Bowling Green, VA – jewelry
Booth 35: Deb Becker from Lancaster – carved wood and stained glass
Booth 36: Helen Victoria Mountz from Phoenix, AZ – jewelry
Booth 37: Del Casterline from Mountain Top – ceramics

Photo by Rich Howells/NEPA Scene