If you attended the Upper Arlington Labor Day Arts Festival on Monday, you saw a lot of people walking around with…
The old-fashioned kind. The ones that perhaps your grandmother used to sweep the dust out of the corners of the living room, or the type your grandfather used to knock down spiderwebs from porch ceilings.
But these brooms were brand new and sold by the Vintage Broom Shop of McConnelsville in eastern Ohio.
Nick Eckert was holding two of them — two household brooms that sold for $17 each.
Eckert was in town from Nashville, Tennessee, visiting family. He didn’t go to the arts festival in Northam Park hoping to find brooms. “I just came out to browse,” he said.
He did. And he swept away with two brooms.
“These are for my mother,” Eckert said. His mom lives in Nashville and she has had trouble finding narrower brooms at stores back home. So these two, he said, made perfect sense.
Eckert was hardly the only one who went home with something he didn’t expect to buy at the 53rd annual Labor Day arts show in Upper Arlington.
Around 20,000 were expected to attend the daylong festival, held under cloudy skies but mild temperatures which made it easier for the throngs winding their ways through the tents and displays of the 149 artists, selling jewelry and purses, paintings and photos and ceramic bowls and vases.
“It’s our biggest event,” said Jared Nyhart, Upper Arlington’s community affairs manager. “It brings people not only from Columbus but from all over the state.”
Vendors came from as far as New Jersey and California, and as close by as right there in Upper Arlington.
Christina Gamble is a watercolor artist from Powell who displayed brightly colored works of lighthouses and beaches and mills, inspired in part by trips to New England.
She also sold small reproductions of a painting of Ohio State’s Mirror Lake, a fall scene with nursing students clad in red scrubs around the lake. Gamble is a retired nurse at Ohio State, and said the original work hangs in the lobby of OSU’s College of Nursing at Neil and West 10th avenues.
“I like the back story. It’s nice to hear the back story,” said Garrick Schindler of the Northland area, who bought one of the small framed reproductions.
Schindler, a health and physical education teacher at Northland High School, went to Ohio State and was attracted by the OSU autumn scene of changing leaves that Gamble created. “It captures that sentiment,” he said.
Ahmi Goldfarb of Livingston, New Jersey, near New York City, sells his batik art in Upper Arlington and traveling from shows in southern Michigan. Batik is a process using colorful dyes and wax on a canvas of cotton sheeting, and Goldfarb’s art concentrates on pets and Judaism. He said many of his customers buy gifts for Rosh Hashana, which begins late this month.
Dave and Jill Kvalheim, of Westerville, bought a creation that said “Every cat deserves a chance” with nine cats on it for their daughter, who attends George Mason University’s Antonin Scalia Law School in northern Virginia, and rescues cats.
“She got her 50th cat now,” said Dave Kvalheim, who said she often cares for pregnant cats, then gives them and their kittens to no-kill shelters.
Bill Lamb was helping his wife, Elaine, sell her pottery. A former mayor and now council member of the city of Medina in northeast Ohio, Bill Lamb said his wife has been coming to the Upper Arlington show for a couple of decades.
“For a one-day art show, 20,000 (attendees) is great,” he said as he was selling a vase to a customer late Monday morning.
“We haven’t had much time to rest.”