Bel Air Festival for the Arts promises hundreds of crafts on Sunday

For the 48th year, a bevy of artists and art enthusiasts will take over Shamrock Park Sunday for Bel Air's tribute to photos, crafts and fine art of all kinds.

The Bel Air Festival for the Arts, set from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday, promises a few more newcomers than normal among the 350 artisans and crafts people who make up the event.

Organizer Donna Stufft said the day usually gets about 20 percent new vendors, but this year it is 30 percent.

"That is nice, when you have one in three [newcomers]; usually it's about one in five," Stufft said.

Nevertheless, "there is always something new," she said.

The festival claims to be one of the largest one-day events in Harford County and includes live entertainment, as well as food concession sales that directly benefit the Bel Air Parks and Recreation programs.

Some of the newcomers to the fair include Alan Holcombe with "United Plates of America," showing off national and state maps made out of license plates; Billie and Mark Sontheimer with Woodland Creationz, garden art made from repurposed items such as fans and spoons; and Cat Audette Holt with Claymonster Pottery, hand-thrown and altered "monster vessels" and whimsical stoneware pottery.

Entertainment will kick off at 9 a.m. with the Harford Ballet Company, followed by Big Bertha's Rhythm Kings at 10 a.m.

Other performers include members of Applause, Sounding Brass, Ryan-Kilcoyne School of Irish Dance, Upper Chesapeake Chorus, Chuck Baker Orchestra, Silver Eagle Cloggers and Bel Air Community Band.

Although minor items get tweaked from year to year, Stufft said the festival is basically always the same and continues to be popular.

This year, about 100 more vendors applied than what the event can hold, giving her more to choose from.

"We are fortunate this year," she said. "We have got people from all over Maryland, Delaware, Pennsylvania as customers here. It is really well-attended."

As for vendors, they come from nine other states, including as far away as New York and Florida, she said.

"It's just a wonderful event and it's one of those things I don't know of a way to improve it," she said with a laugh. "We are supposed to have beautiful weather. We are hoping for Goldilocks weather: not too hot, not too cold."

Admission to the festival is free. Free shuttle bus service will provide transportation from the MVA parking lot on Route 24 to the festival site.

All-day parking is also available at the Bel Air parking garage across the street on Hickory Avenue for a $2 donation to the Bel Air Auxiliary Police.

Smoking is prohibited around the exhibitor booths and the event is rain or shine.

A baby changing station will again be provided by Harford Moms, Stufft said.

"It's going to be a wonderful day and it's a great community event," she said.

For more information, visit the event's website,

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