Cold weather puts a damper on Bethel’s BAMFest celebration

Artist Bill Shafer from Mt. Orab poses with some of his paintings at Bethel’s BAMFest.

Artist Bill Shafer from Mt. Orab poses with some of his paintings at Bethel’s BAMFest.
By Jordan Puckett
Sun staff

The fourth Bethel Arts and Music Festival was held Saturday, May 11. Though normally a crowded, popular event, the cold weather proved to be a deterrent for most this year. According to BAMFest committee member Judi Adams, the turnout this year was less than half of the usual 2,000 attendants.

Vendors and artists began setup at 8 a.m. A few sat in their cars and watched. Many more of them sat under their tents, huddled in blankets, and waited for people to come.

Outside the park, musicians set up on street corners and played to passersby, many of them attracting their own audiences. Just outside Burke Park, there were remote control airplane displays that gathered small crowds. Inside the park, vendors and artists entertained customers with their products.

One such vendor, painter Bill Shafer, of Mt. Orab, had numerous paintings under his tent and was eager to show them to BAMFest attendants. Shafer has only been painting for two years, yet he already has an impressive collection. He paints animals and landscapes and sells them as high quality prints.

Another artist present for the BAMFest was Craig Newland. Newland creates art using spray paint. He sells his paintings through his business, Craig’s Creations.

There were many other forms of art represented at the BAMFest, such as woodworking, pottery, and knitted scarves to name a few.

A car show also took place, though many of the expected cars were absent due to the weather. Dr. Charles Barngrover brought his red and white 1961 Nash Metropolitan, despite concerns of rain.

“It was worth it to come out here today,” Barngrover said.

Several prizes were also awarded during the festival. Some of these include a wine basket donated by the Harmony Hill Winery, a doll house donated by Howard Jones, a Henry Sierra Rifle donated by Arcade Antiques and Guns, and a flatscreen TV donated by E.C. Nurre Funeral Home.

Along with the art and cars, there was an arts and crafts area for kids, the Bethel Historical Museum was open to the public, a quilt show was held at the Bethel United Methodist Church, and there was live music at the park. Performers included Tim Snyder, Bryon Cox, the Tom Frietchen Band, and the Batavia High School Jazz Band.

“The kid’s area was a big success,” Adams said. “We almost ran out of supplies at one station where the kids were making things for Mother’s Day.”

Adams also said the quilt show was “absolutely fabulous” and the Batavia High School Jazz Band was “wonderful.”

“We wish the crowd would have been bigger,” Adams said, “but the people that did come had a good time and that’s what matters.”