Arts festival promotes community

Kyrstin James and Kyrstin James

At 23 years old and still going strong, the Black Swamp Arts Festival will shut down all of downtown Bowling Green to host this weekend’s events on Sept. 11-13. It will showcase live music, artists at work, youth activities and concessions.

“It’s just the best part of what Bowling Green is as a community, coming together to celebrate great music, great art and great food,” said Amy Craft Ahrens, owner of For Keeps and co-chair of concessions for BSAF.

Daniel Stutzman, BSAF marketing and public relations chair, said the community comes together to make the event a success.

“It takes 900 people to run this festival and all of those are volunteers,” said Stutzman.

Stutzman also added that the BSAF is ranked as the number one volunteer festival in Ohio.

In addition to the 900 volunteers, there are 150 artists coming to the event to showcase and vend their masterpieces and share and celebrate art with attendees.

“There’s something happening around every corner. If you stand somewhere and think ‘This is really interesting,’ you walk ten feet and there’s something new and interesting,” said Jamie Sands, a committee chair of BSAF.

The event will host concerts, artists at work, youth events and an opportunity to post a selfie with the BSAF logo and hashtag #BSAF for a chance to win a merchandise basket.

With all the art and activities surrounding it, the attendees may get hungry. Taste of Amish’s Lori Hanway will be featuring Amish-made ice cream toppings, homemade ice cream, fresh sandwiches and her “Famous Lauri’s Pasta Salad.”

“My pasta salad is the bomb – so I’ve been told,” Hanway said. “There is a deli where [students] can get a fresh homemade sandwich. It’s like coming home,”

If students are feeling charitable, Miranda Liss is providing her own food with a philanthropic twist. All proceeds from the Pisanello’s Pizza booth will go towards the Wood County Humane Society.

“A huge passion of mine is animal welfare,” Liss said.

With all the food, art and activities, students are encouraged to attend this weekend’s festivities.

Liss said “We want students to come find us.”

“It’s kind of like a celebration of Bowling Green. It brings the community together,” Stutzman said.

With hope that students attend BSAF throughout the weekend, there will be unique opportunities offered such as watching artists work.

“There are super talented people in the community. You get to experience the art and that is why it is so wonderful and memorable,” Sands said.

Local businesses are also working to allow students to discover new tastes of local shopping and food.

Liss said BSAF is aiming to be “something different. Something local. Something that creates a memory.”