Fine Arts Fiesta is about friends for some

By Cabrini Rudnicki - For Times Leader
A woman is reflected in art that hangs in a tent on Public Square during the Fine Arts Fiesta on Thursday in Wilkes-Barre. - Aimee Dilger | Times Leader

WILKES-BARRE — For one vendor, the Fine Arts Fiesta serves as a reunion site, not just a place to sell her wares.

“I always look forward to seeing friends that I haven’t seen in a long time,” said Andrea Gustitus, of Pringle, owner of Libby & Liam jewelry. “I also love having people try on my jewelry and their reactions to it; their opinions about it, things I might not have thought about; and how every piece looks different on each different person.”

The Fine Arts Fiesta celebrates local artists in many genres — from art to music to dancing to theater. There are also juried art contests, children’s activities, and performances from local talent.

Gloria Barkley, of Hartland, Michigan, traveled all the way to Wilkes-Barre to sell her handmade steel art.

“I’m looking forward to lots of customers,” said Barkley.

The festival was filled with visitors from around the area by afternoon.

Jennifer Walton and John Mark, both of Pittston, explored the Square with a toddler in tow.

“I’m off work this week, so I figured I’d hang out and do something fun,” said Mark. The couple spent the day looking at art and doing some light shopping.

Casey Pongitore, of Wilkes-Barre, ran from vendor to vendor with her daughter.

“I wanted to start exposing (my daughter) to art,” said Pongitore. “She really enjoys doing the painting activities.”

The fiesta features a children’s tent and a family activities area.

Helen Grebski, of Pringle, is a volunteer who helps with arts-and-crafts activities suitable for all age groups.

“It’s always gratifying seeing this extended family situation in the area,” said Grebski. “That’s why I try to gauge my activities for all different levels.”

The festival was started in 1956 by Annette Evans and Alfred Groh as a way to promote the arts in the Wyoming Valley. It has been put on every spring since, growing to a four-day event as the years passed.

For more on the Fine Arts Fiesta, click here.

A woman is reflected in art that hangs in a tent on Public Square during the Fine Arts Fiesta on Thursday in Wilkes-Barre.
https://www.timesleader.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/05/web1_TTL051818Fiesta7-5.jpgA woman is reflected in art that hangs in a tent on Public Square during the Fine Arts Fiesta on Thursday in Wilkes-Barre. Aimee Dilger | Times Leader

By Cabrini Rudnicki

For Times Leader