ELYRIA — With a moniker that pays tribute to famed Elyria industrialist, inventor and politician Arthur Lovett Garford, the upcoming Garford Arts Fest will showcase the talents of local creators of art and music.
From 5 to 11 p.m. Aug 18, two stages and downtown Elyria will serve as the venue for this event that is the brainchild of several Elyria groups on a mission. From nonprofits like Invest Elyria, Elyria Arts Council, Elyria Bicycle Education Center, Elyria Public Library and the Lorain County Historical Society to downtown businesses like Blank Slate Elyria and Roxy’s Emporium, the plan is to use the festival to showcase Elyria’s multicultural history, celebrate its residents and inspire its future.
“For us the biggest thing will be just having people downtown at night,” said Steve Riggle, a Blank Slate board member. “We want to show people that being downtown at night can be fun and safe, and we already have the pieces in place to do it. The event will go until 11 p.m., and the idea is to change the stigma associated with downtown.”
In addition to local food and art, there will be local vendors and food for visitors with much of the event taking place at the scenic East Falls Overlook. A lineup of acts will take to the stage inside Blank Slate, 2 Kerstetter Way.
Visitors can look forward to a Jackson Pollock-inspired interactive painting exhibit presented by the Elyria Arts Council, and the Lorain County Historical Society will showcase many historic artifacts from Garford, who lived in Elyria from 1858 to 1933. Garford’s home now serves as the Hickories Museum and home of the historical society.
When asked why Garford was chosen as the namesake the of the music and arts festival, Riggle said it was Garford’s innovative spirit that spoke to organizers.
“He had some ideas, came out with some inventions and tried to get some other manufacturers to listen to him, but when they wouldn’t, he started making them himself and made quite a fortune doing it,” Riggle said. “So we really want to take that legacy and spirit of innovation — that kind of do-it-yourself attitude — and inspire people in Elyria to do the same thing.”
The Garford Arts Fest is free to the public.
In an effort to help cover expenses, a fundraiser is set 6 to 9 p.m. Thursday at the Foundry Kitchen and Bar. It is an all-you-can-eat pizza fundraiser at a cost of $10 per person or $5 for kids 12 and younger. Guest can enjoy the Foundry’s handmade pizza and a fountain drink. There will be a cash bar and 50/50 raffle.
For more information, find Garford Arts Fest on Facebook, visit www.garfordartsfest.com, or call (440) 396-2265.