While some events in St. Joseph remain in limbo because of the COVID-19 pandemic, a summer arts and tech festival will continue.
The “St. Joseph 2021: from steam to S.T.E.A.M.” will celebrate local contributions to art, technology and mathematics, among other categories. Organizers said they’re looking for artists and vendors to showcase.
“It’s slow right now because there’s a lot of uncertainty … But we’re still moving forward, because we feel a high level of confidence that we’ll be able to safely have the festival,” Teresa Fankhauser, executive director of the Allied Arts Council, said.
Planned for Friday and Saturday, Aug. 20 and 21, at Civic Center Park, the festival will focus on St. Joseph’s contributions, both past and present, in science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics. The project involves the Allied Arts Council, the City of St. Joseph and Buchanan County.
There will be a variety of activities and features, from soundscapes to hands-on activities to living history exhibits.
Differentiating itself from the annual “Trails West!” festival that Allied Arts Council previously hosted, “S.T.E.A.M.” is focused on local and regional artists only, meaning rates for artists will be cheaper to ensure they can afford being a part of it.
“(The entry fee is) $50 plus (extra) if you want electricity. We want it to be affordable, especially for people that it’s been hard to sell art when you can’t go anywhere. This will be an opportunity for them to hopefully to get out and earn some money,” Fankhauser said.
The festival will take into account non-touring artists who lack amenities like tents to showcase their art and sells their wares.
“A lot of these artists are relatively young or they do it on the side. So they’re not set up for that. So we want to be able to accommodate them as well, and either sharing an artist tent or creating a larger tent that will allow several artists to be in there to make it a little easier for them,” she said.
The festival also aims to do the same thing for food vendors from around the area, whether it’s an established restaurant or food truck (and for those wondering, Keck’s Root Beer will be returning).
“This is truly about focusing on Northwest Missouri and St. Joseph specifically. So, we’d like to include that with our food, you know, and it could even be restaurants here in town that can participate,” Fankhauser said.
With the open, outdoor space, Fankhauser said she expects the festival to be a safe, fun time for people who haven’t had many experiences like that during the past year. To use the event to boost local artists, she said that’s even better.
“Our hope is that people get to come out and just celebrate our community and seeing about how wonderful we have it,” she said.
Rules and regulations apply. To become a part of the festival, go to stjoearts.org/2021festival or call the Allied Arts Council at 816-233-0231.