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Sun., Oct. 4
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Artists showcase work at fest


MORRISTOWN — A man plays his hand-carved flute as children gather around two fluffy alpacas in a pen. Painters, poets and furniture makers are all on hand for the fifth annual Mare’s Wares Arts Festival.

The focus of the festival is handcrafted goods by area artisans, and hundreds of people came out on Sunday to see what was being offered. Cars lined the road in Morristown outside Mare’s Wares Pottery at 3938 Route 37.

Admission was free, and highlights included a wine tasting, live music and a pig roast. A children’s tent offered pony rides and face painting. The show began at noon and continued until 8 p.m.

Ottawa residents M. Chris Wojcik and Jan E. Wojcik fled the Canada Day crowds to come check out the festival after hearing about it on a previous trip to Mare’s Wares.

“We came here specifically for this,” Ms. Wojcik said. “It’s just a very calm atmosphere, it’s not too commercial.”

Mary Ann Evans (“Mare” to her friends), is the owner of Mare’s Wares Pottery and founder of the festival. She said she started the fest to provide people with a way to enjoy the art of local craftsmen.

The 66 vendors were picked by Ms. Evans and the festival’s other organizers; space was available by invitation. The event has added about 10 vendors annually since it began five years ago, but it has almost reached its maximum size, Ms. Evans said.

“We want to keep it a small, intimate show,” she said.

Artists and artisans showcased everything from jewelry to paintings, furniture to maple syrup, all of it handmade.

“This is a real good festival, it’s nice because it’s all handcrafted stuff,” said Fred J. Peryer, Colton. Mr. Peryer has been making rustic furniture for the past 18 years.

Some visitors came out of curiosity.

“I think it’s pretty cool, it’s my first time here,” said Lee C. Sovie, of Ogdensburg.

“The wine brought me,” joked Mr. Sovie’s friend, A. Drew McNichol.

County Legislator Jonathan Putney of Lisbon brought his family out for the festival.

“It’s a pleasure to see this many people out enjoying the beautiful weather,” he said.

While most of the fest was filled with those looking to sell their wares, some displays were of an entirely different nature.

Fragile Planet Wildlife Center, a new conservatory out of Alexandria Bay, drew crowds with its live exotic animals, including a rare ocelot and a parrot.

“We try to teach these people about conservation,” said Tyler C. Thomas, co-owner of Fragile Planet.

Chaumont oil painter Brian D. Lister showed his work while working on a new painting. The fest was the end of a busy stretch for him, the fourth time he had shown his work this week. He was recruited to the festival by Ms. Evans.

“This is the first time I’ve been here, the ladies kind of shanghaied me into it,” he said.

Lisa A. Nortz, Croghan, was displaying her jewelry, her third appearance at the fest. Ms. Nortz is a second-generation silversmith, and is teacher her son the craft.

“Lots of nice artists work here,” she said.

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