Blessed with good weather, event set records on two of its four days, president says.

Last updated: May 19. 2013 11:34PM - 3732 Views
By - jlynott@civitasmedia.com - (570) 991-6120

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WILKES-BARRE — When Nancy Swiger photographed a tulip in her neighbor’s yard she knew it was right for the Fine Arts Fiesta.

Her “Textured Tulip” photo won first place and she won best of show in the fiesta’s juried photography exhibit.

“I entered it into another photo contest and it wasn’t accepted,” said Swiger, of Wilkes-Barre.

She sold it too, capping off a successful weekend.

The 58th fiesta held on Public Square began Thursday under sunny skies and ended Sunday under threatening skies as several hundred people listened to recording artist Marshall Crenshaw playing a solo show in the bandshell area.

He didn’t disappoint with his performance by the reaction of the audience.

“Hey, hello,” he said during his sound check, which drew applause.

“No, no, it’s not show time yet. But thanks very much,” he said.

During his hour-long set he mentioned he had played at the former Station complex years ago.

As he sang and played guitar craftspeople broke down their stands and packed up their jewelry, photographs and other goods.

“We had a fabulous fiesta,” said Debbie Grossman, the event’s president.

There were record crowds and record sales Thursday and Friday. Saturday was a little slower because of the weather and three graduations, Grossman said.

Things ran smoothly; something she credited to the people behind the scenes.

“It’s a festival that basically runs itself because the board is so organized,” said Grossman, a board member for 25 years.

She is president for another year and will have to find someone to fill the spot left by Straw Mountain Brooms.

Bob and Patsy Wiggins of Unicoi, Tenn. ended a nearly 20-year run at the fiesta.

“I retired from the military,” said Bob Wiggins, 73, a U.S. Navy veteran originally from Drums. “Now I’m retiring a second time.”

He and his wife are going to spend more time with their honey bees back home.

“We are literally on top of the game,” he said. This year was the best ever, partly because it was their last.

He taped a hand-lettered sign giving notice of his retirement to his cash register. Once people saw it, they bought an extra broom knowing it was their last opportunity to do so.

“I thought I’d be breaking down in tears but I haven’t. It really probably hasn’t sunk in yet,” Wiggins said.

He and his wife made a lot of friends here and enjoyed the area.

“My wife says the thing she’s going to miss the most is Boscov’s,” he said of the department store within walking distance of their stand on the Square.

Mary Conrad and her daughter, Ava, 7, of Wilkes-Barre, enjoyed the music from a table in the grass above the bandshell.

“I came on Friday and today. We had a great time,” Conrad said.

She used to live in Philadelphia and made a point of coming up to the attend the fiesta and see friends.

Her daughter had her face painted and they had their choice of food vendors, choosing potato pancakes and sno-cones.

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