Sunday, September 28, 2008

Arts and Humanities makes a Magical Montgomery - Gazette

Downtown Silver Spring to host annual festival of music, performance arts, fine arts and activities

by Jason Tomassini | Staff Writer |Wednesday, Sept. 24, 2008

Everything from paintings by local artists to Irish folk music to children creating their own CD cases will be on tap this Saturday at the eighth-annual Magical Montgomery festival in downtown Silver Spring.

The event, sponsored by the Arts and Humanities Council of Montgomery County, Downtown Silver Spring and the Silver Spring Regional Center, will be held 1 p.m. to 7 p.m. on Ellsworth Drive.

More than 100 booths with information, activities and items for sale will be set up at the event, represented by local organizations and about 25 crafts vendors.

"I've always been extremely impressed with the incredible array of diverse and fabulous talent that this region holds," said Suzan Jenkins, the first-year CEO of the Arts and Humanities Council, who has attended Magical Montgomery as a resident. "It's always exciting to learn about the different types of work you can see in the area."

There will be two stages with live entertainment. The Town Center Stage at the corner of Ellsworth and Fenton Street will feature a general assortment of acts while the Montgomery Traditions Stage will feature folk and traditional performances, said Elizabeth Gallauresi, an event planner with the county.

Performances will include Irish-themed Pete Moss and the Bog Band at 4 p.m. on the Traditions stage, Indian classical dance from Kuchipudi Kalanidhi at 2 p.m. on the Traditions stage and the final performance of the event, Washington, D.C.-based Euphonism, a vocal band at 6 p.m. on the Town Center stage. There are 17 performances scheduled between the two stages.

Dozens of performing arts groups and organizations will have booths with information and activities for festival-goers. The Strathmore Music Center in Rockville will give children the opportunity to decorate their own CD cases. The North Bethesda-based Maryland Classic Youth Orchestra – which will perform at 5:30 on the Town Center stage – also will have an "instrument petting zoo" where participants can try classical instruments. Adventure Theater, a performing arts organization from Glen Echo, is offering arts and crafts activities themed around their fall shows.

Another main feature of Magical Montgomery is its artists' market, where local vendors can sell crafts and artwork.

Gallauresi said about 25 vendors are expected, all of which were approved by the Arts and Humanities Council, which screened prospective vendors for participation in the event. Only vendors from the county were accepted.

There also will be a contest with cash prizes given out to vendors based on quality and presentation of the work. First prize is $500. Last year's first-prize winner, weaver Anne Sanderoff-Walker, will return this year to offer her line of scarves and jackets, while also providing a weaving demonstration for visitors interested in the craft.

Sanderoff-Walker, a Montgomery Blair High School graduate who now works out of her home in Gaithersburg, said the festival is an inexpensive opportunity to gain new customers.

"It's getting the word out about my art," said Sanderoff-Walker, who will be a part of Magical Montgomery for the second time. "I'm also a big supporter of arts in Montgomery County … there should be more opportunities for local artisans to sell their work."

The cost for Sanderoff-Walker to reserve her booth with an early registration was just $100 and she paid an extra $100 to have the chance at a "premium booth" in a higher traffic area of the festival.

Stephen Estrada, who will participate in the event for the first time this year, will have 25 to 30 nature-themed paintings at his booth. He said the event is another example of the county improving accommodations for local artists.

"I think that the opportunities in the county just continue to grow for artists," said Estrada, a painter from Silver Spring. "If you look at downtown Silver Spring, there is clearly a market and desire to have a really lively arts community."

For more information about the event call 301-565-3805. Go to

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