The 57th Annual Allentown Art Festival is almost here. Over 400 juried exhibitors will be arriving from across the country to participate in what is known as one of the largest arts festivals in the US.
The Allentown Art Festival | June 14th & 15th, 9am – 6pm, 2014
It was in 1958 that Jason Natowitz decided that it was time to figure out a plan of action to drum up some business in Allentown. He wrangled together some business owners in the neighborhood to meet. That group became the Allentown Village Society, and would go on to found The Buffalo Art Festival. It is interesting to note that the roots of the festival were formed by the businesses in the district.
That same year, 20,000 people came to see a mere 50 artists as they set up for the inaugural festival, setting the tone for the wildly successful art festival that we see today. While the event dipped the organization into “the red” financially the first year, the group saw the potential in the effort and continued to move forward, thankfully. “”It was rated as the most colorful cultural event in Buffalo since the Pan-American Exposition,” noted Louis Cherenzia*, co-founder of the festival.
Eventually the event became known as the Allentown Art Festival (1966), and in 1967 Governor Nelson A. Rockefeller wrote in a letter, “I am delighted to hear that the Allentown Outdoor Art Festival is increasing in scope year by year, and has now developed into one of the largest outdoor art events in the Great Lake Area.”
Today the tradition continues, as thousands upon thousands of people descend upon Allentown to people watch, check out the art, and spend time in bohemian Allentown.
*Quotes from the history of the festival and images found at AllentownArtFestival.com