Ames Art Festival Draws 10,000 Visitors – Iowa State Daily

The visual, performing and culinary arts were celebrated Sunday by art lovers, Iowa State students and Ames residents at the 51st annual Octagon Art Festival.

The Octagon Center for the Arts hosted this event, exhibiting 85 visual artists, food vendors, children’s activities, and various musicians and performers on Main Street in downtown Ames.

Rob Wallace, professional carpenter and vice chairman of the board of the Octagon Center for the Arts, estimated at least 10,000 visitors during the six-hour event.

“Part of what I like to do with the woodturning demonstration is to show an aspect of woodworking that a lot of people don’t see,” Wallace said. “It’s just fun to see the kids mesmerized by the shape-shifting piece of wood.”

Wallace described the art festival as a community gathering; he said it was one of the best ways to see the friends he made at Iowa State, the people he coached, and other artists.

Food vendors included at the event were Hy-Chi food truck, Los Primos Grill, Smiles and Gyros and other local restaurants. Performers included ISU Orchesis I Dance, local musician Elizabeth Zimmerman and 13 other dance or music groups spread across two stages.

Kristy Evans, the founder of Kristy Evans Art, described her experience as a first-time attendee at the festival as positive. She said it was nice to hear people praising her art, but also unusual to see people’s reactions. Evans said she was happy to finally be able to pass on a piece of art that had been hanging in her dining room forever.

Caroline Freese, the founder of Caroline Freese Designs, said she loves seeing people smile when they come across something they like. She said the Ames Community was a supportive place to find clients.

Dan Kemp, the founder of Danka Artistry, recommends trying out the festival next year for artists who are hesitant to attend.

“Meeting new people, hanging out and watching everyone interact with each other is some of my favorite things to do,” Kemp said. “It’s exciting, and it’s a one-day event, so you walk in, people are excited to buy, and then it’s all over.”

To volunteer, interact, or stay up to date with the Octagon Center for the Arts, visit their website.

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