LEHMAN TWP. -- "We're very thankful for what's not coming out of the sky," said Janis Winter, general chairperson of the Arts at Hayfield Summer Festival on Sunday.
She and 62 volunteers set up to open the 28th annual festival on Sunday at Penn State Wilkes-Barre. More than 2,500 visitors strolled through more than 100 arts-and-crafts displays enjoying a Sunday afternoon with almost perfect late-summer weather.
Last year's festival was quite different, she said. Due to the hurricane-like conditions from Tropical Storm Irene , the campus was closed and without electricity causing the event to be completely canceled.
"This year was our comeback," Winter said.
Winter has been involved with the festival for the last 25 years and has chaired it for the last 10.
She emphasized the Arts at Hayfield is not a fundraiser, but rather an event at which local artisans, musicians and crafters can showcase their wares and talents to the community.
One shopper said there were "great deals at great prices." Vendors sold handmade baskets, pet products, wood carvings, jewelry and accessories as well as homemade desserts, jams, sauces and dips.
Children's activities included crafts, a "discovery" play area and a tour of the Friedman Observatory. Entertainers provided a variety of music, juggling and martial arts demonstrations.
Pia Somerlock, who operates the PS Pottery display, said she has participated for 10 years and finds the festival a good place to do business and meet "really nice folks."
"The people who run the event are very well-organized," she said. "They are a very friendly group."
She was pleased with the attendance and the weather saying she and the other vendors she talked to had a good business day. But, most of all she enjoys talking to the shoppers who have come by year after year.
"Even if they don't come to buy something, they still stop to give me a hug and say hello," she said.
In addition to the vendors and entertainment, the event included guided tours of the historic Hayfield House conducted by Janet Rosenbaum, an employee of the university. Winter lauded Rosenbaum's passion for the house, which was home of John N. Conyngham.
Adorned with European furnishings along with historic portraits of the family members and their farm, the home was a real "showcase" of the day, Winter added.
She thanked the administration and staff at Penn State Wilkes-Barre for providing the venue for the event each year as well as helping with the set-up and clean-up afterwards.
She said the Arts at Hayfield exists as a way for local artists and crafters and the local community to enjoy a nice day.