Self-proclaimed as one of the best fine-arts and crafts festivals in the Blue Ridge region, the Shepherdstown Street Fest features many local German Street and Princess Street shops, artisan and food vendors, a beer garden, live bands, and a specially designated “Kid’s Camp” for the little ones.
“Shepherdstown Street Fest has been going on for five years,” Bob Keel, the Street Fest President, says. He continues and explains why this event is special. “We have a ton of stuff going on for kids, we have handmade artisan goods, and it’s just a really fun town.”
A youth-focused area called the “Kid’s Camp,” is hosted by the Morgan Academy and emphasizes the family-friendly tone of the festival. There will be arts and crafts, games, and other activities designed especially for the children’s entertainment. Some of the highlights include children’s yoga, face painting, Yamni Arts, and live entertainment by Tony M. Music. Not only is this a great opportunity to get out and have fun with the family, but it also provides visitors an opportunity to support local charities.
Each year, the proceeds from the event benefit two area charities which are carefully selected by the Street Fest board. This year, the 2015 charities were retained as the benefactors of the 2016 Street Fest.
“Due to the loss of revenue associated with last year’s storm, we weren’t able to give them amount of money we are accustomed to giving to our named charities,” Bob explains. “The board felt that it wasn’t fair, so we decided to keep them as this year’s charities.”
For 2016, the charities selected are CASA-EP (Court Appointed Special Advocates of the Eastern Panhandle) and the non-profit Shepherdstown Day Care. Proceeds provided to CASA-EP will help train volunteers who will advocate and speak on behalf of area children involved in court cases; and proceeds provided to the Shepherdstown Day Care will help supplement tuition payments for children from area families who demonstrate the financial need.
For families who might be worried about the possibility of wet weather, the Street Fest board would like to assure everyone that they won’t let the rain ruin the entire event. In case of rain this year, the Street Fest board has secured an agreement with the Opera House (which is also an event sponsor) to help host the band and provide a few other services. They are also in negotiation with another venue to support their rain plan. The Kid’s Camp will move indoors if the weather causes a problem this year.
As the Shepherdstown Street Fest is officially a rain or shine event, the vendors though will remain outdoors due to limited rain-plan spacing. “Vendors for festival events like this understand the inherent risk of showcasing at an outdoor event,” Bob says. “So they are hearty folks that come prepared for such occasions.”
Supporting local and regional businesses is another great reason to bring the family out to this fun-filled, one-day event. First, the local shops along German and Princess streets will remain open for business. This festival helps attract thousands of people and showcases the colorful and unique community of Shepherdstown.
Along with these permanent shops, artisan vendors will set up booths throughout Street Fest where you can browse their unique and artistic wares. These vendors give you a taste of the different talents tucked away throughout our unique and diverse region.
“We’re very picky about our vendors,” Bob says. The board focuses on carefully screening vendor applicants to ensure that the Street Fest offers a wealth of highquality, handmade artisan goods.
They never allow vendors who simply resell pre-made products.
A sampling of the variety of these handmade goods includes beadwork, handcrafted jewelry, nature and landscape photography, herbal oils and food products, portrait art, stained glass, unique glassware, paintings, stone and leather works, and more. The list is extensive, varied, and includes such a vast range of goods that there’s surely a little something for everyone.
If you are an artisan crafter, the Street Fest is still seeking to offer more unique goods and accepting vendor applications until May 15th.
To complement the artisan vendors, there is an exciting lineup of nine food vendors to provide a range of cuisine options, from festival standards like Frosty’s Shaved Ice and Maui Wowi Hawaiian, to regional specialties like Almost Heaven Taters from Berkeley Springs.
There will be a delightful selection of BBQ from BC’s Catering Company from Martinsburg, Carol’s Concessions, and Keep It Smokin’ BBQ from Hagerstown.
For a little more variety, the following vendors help provide a little something for everyone:
Asian Fusion Elite, Bayou Billy’s Old Fashioned Soda, and C & G Jerk. Looking for a little adult time? The Street Fest has a special spot for the grown-ups, too.
The Beer Garden offers a variety of beers to visitors age 21 and up. Bob states that they also work hard to make sure they can feature West Virginia beers alongside the national standards to complete the local and regional theme throughout the Street Fest.
“We typically try to get a West Virginia beer on tap,” Bob says. “We’ll definitely do a couple of selections of West Virginia beer.”
If you enjoy drinking local and regional craft beer, make sure you plan to stop by the Beer Garden to see which treasures the board has selected to showcase at the fest. There’s one more thing that can round out a great festival like this – showcasing the Blue Ridge region’s musical talent.
“As a musician myself, I’m excited about the fine lineup of bands we have in store,” Bob says. The Library Stage will showcase Shepherdstown’s own homegrown bands such as The Speakeasy Boys, Ginada Piñata, Ethereal Jive, and A Faster Buffalo.
The lineup of acts from outside of Shepherdstown will perform on the Main Stage, and kicks off at noon on the Main Stage with Chamomile and Whiskey. This band’s music is a high-energy mix of rock, Americana, Irish, and old-time bluegrass.
Other Main Stage bands include: 1:45 PM: Reckless Island, a reggaerock band from Richmond, VA. Their beachy sound is perfect for a sunny summer day.
3:30 PM: The Plate Scrapers, a bluegrass string band and Appalachian favorite.
5:15 PM: Holy Ghost Tent Revival, a seven-piece band out of Asheville, NC, plays a thrilling style of rock that combines the old and new, regional and national, and creates a groovy alternative rock sound. Check out “The Right State of Mind” for a taste of the treats they have to offer. 7:10 PM: The Street Fest Headliner, the Christian Lopez Band, takes the main stage as the final act. Don’t miss this one! Hailing from Martinsburg, this band has become a folk-rock hit and which tours nationally.
Bob is excited to see thousands of folks on a sunny Saturday, June 25th, and looks forward to hearing from more volunteers and festival sponsors.
For more information including a list of artisans, the schedule of bands, and information about volunteering and sponsorship, visit www.shepherdstownstreetfest.org, and ‘Like” Shepherdstown Street Fest on Facebook.