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Chester County Press

Brandywine Festival of the Arts returns for 62nd year

08/15/2023 04:03PM ● By Steven Hoffman

With more than 250 artisans displaying and selling their works as well as 16 food and snack vendors, the Brandywine Festival of the Arts, a Wilmington tradition since 1961, returns to Brandywine Park on Sept. 9 and 10 for its largest show ever. 

In addition to art works and food, the event features music, children's activities and pet-adoption opportunities.

The artisans, coming from not only the mid-Atlantic states but also from New England, Virginia, Florida and the Midwest, include painters, photographers, jewelry makers, ceramicists, woodcrafters and fabric artists. 

This year’s festival will feature Edwin Lester, a self-taught artist who brings a very sophisticated and technically advanced style of realism to his figurative and atmospheric paintings. The Philadelphia native has exhibited in galleries and museums across the nation. His painting, “Worn But Not Out,” is on the cover of the 2023 U.S. Civil Rights Trail Travel Guide. 

The end of the COVID-19 pandemic and the completion of the Interstate 95 reconstruction project through Wilmington have made the festival more attractive to artisans this year, and all vendor spaces  were reserved by mid-June, the earliest ever, according to Barry Schlecker, whose Barry’s Events has produced the festival since 2010. 

The festival, held on the banks of the Brandywine on the weekend after Labor Day, attracts as many as 15,000 visitors, with some regulars returning to reconnect with their favored artists while others seek out the works of new exhibitors, Schlecker said. The event is timed not only to mark the transition from summer to fall but also to signal peak season for home redecorating and the early purchase of holiday gifts.

Schlecker said the festival team has put added emphasis this year on expanding and diversifying food and snack options. This year’s offerings include Asian fusion, vegetarian, BBQ, soul food, chicken, seafood, ice cream, water ice, kettle corn, caramel and honey treats.

Musicians from OperaDelaware will perform on Saturday and Sunday. Face-painting and other activities will be offered in the Kids Korner. Animal rescue organizations will be on hand to describe pet adoption procedures.

Brandywine Park is located at 1001 N. Park Drive, opposite the Brandywine Zoo. Free parking and shuttle bus service will be available at Incyte, 1801 Augustine Cutoff. 

Festival hours are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 9, and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday, Sept. 10. Admission is $5 per day, with children 12 and under accompanied by an adult admitted free. Friendly pets on leashes are welcome at the festival and on the shuttle buses.

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