The Aegis
Harford County

55th Bel Air Festival for the Arts was ‘a success,’ organizers say

The 55th Bel Air Festival for the Arts was held Sunday at Shamrock Park in Bel Air. Over 300 artists, photographers and crafters from as far as upstate New York exhibited and sold their original works. More than 12,000 people attended the event, according to John Resta, program director.

“Overall, the festival was a success,” Resta said.


This was the 56th year for the festival, but the 2020 event was cancelled because of the pandemic, Resta said.

The Bel Air Festival for the Arts is a judged competition with prizes for the best artists in the oil/acrylic, watercolor, photography and mixed-media categories.  First-place winners of this year’s judged contest, who received cash prizes for their works, included:

  • Frank Jakum of Rosedale in the oil/acrylic category;
  • Patricia Doty of Arnold in the watercolor category;
  • Brent Mantooth of Bel Air for the photography category;
  • Kristen Wireman of Mechanicsburg, Pa., for the mixed-media category.

This year’s festival also featured 25 youth exhibitors displaying their photography, art and crafts among their more-seasoned colleagues. Youth exhibitors were not judged and did not compete for any prizes.

The festival also featured live performances by local band Close Call, Relicoustic Steve Rexroth, Dan Houtz, Upper Chesapeake Chorus of Sweet Adelines International and Ain’t Misbehavin Big Band, as well as performers roaming through the crowd.

The Bel Air Festival for the Arts is hosted by the Bel Air Recreation Committee, with support from the Town of Bel Air and the Harford County Government Tourism Department. A grant from the Harford County Cultural Arts Foundation supported the youth exhibitors section and live performance program. Other partners included Calvary Baptist Church, Harford Federal Credit Union, JDT Transportation, Halls Septic Services and Alpha Graphics.

The 56th Bel Air Festival for the Arts is planned for Sunday, Sept. 17, 2023.