Sunday, June 03, 2001

Rain doesn't stop crowd from enjoying Summerfair

By Susan Vela
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        Saturday's Summerfair crowd couldn't shake the rain and damp chill in the air, but the poor weather never stood between them and the unique arts and crafts that make the annual event special.

        They just donned their sweat shirts and lifted their umbrellas and plunged ahead with looking over lawn art made of rusted farm equipment, clocks made from plant roots, one-of-a-kind wood creations and the other arts and crafts on display at Coney Island.

[photo] Jean Joseph Monfort of Los Angeles works on a painting at Summerfair.
(Brandi Stafford photos)
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        Janet Gorman, 51, of Mason, left Summerfair before noon but not because of the weather.

        “I've seen everything and I don't want to spend any more money. If I stay longer, I'm going to spend,” said Ms. Gorman, carrying a brass bird feeder and special stoneware for baking. She had reached her self-imposed $100 spending limit.

        Tom and Sue Miele of Western Hills dashed through Summerfair's entrance gates as rain poured from the skies. They never considered returning to their car. Saturday was their lone chance to attend Summerfair, and they weren't going to blow it.

        Hours later, Mr. Miele, a Winton Woods Schools psychologist, had purchased a wooden puzzle and clock made of tree fragments and plant roots for his office. Students will love them, he said.

        His wife had purchased a large blue votive with filigree for her morning prayer table.

        “Every year, somebody surprises you,” Mr. Miele said.

[photo] Connor Lamb, 6, of Union, Ky., looks at himself in a gazing ball made by artist Kelvin Schartz.
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        By noon Saturday, Summerfair staffers had placed hay at many of the artists' tents because of mud and puddles.

        When the rain was heavy, art lovers took shelter beneath the tents and the covered areas that featured food and entertainers. But they were back to browsing whenever the showers stopped.

        Sculptor Robert Cumpston and his wife, Donna, barely noticed a difference in the crowd size. The Colfax, Ill., couple has traveled to Cincinnati for several years to display Mr. Cumpston's popular creations: pigs, dogs, exotic African animals and other creatures he sculpts from oxidized farm equipment.

        “It's been a little slow,” he said. “But we have to have a certain amount of optimism. This is the business we're in.”

        The presenters at Summerfair who won honors for being Best In Show will be featured at The Winner's Circle, which is open inside the Moonlite Gardens, allowing patrons to see the works of all the winners announced on Friday night.

        Among the featured musical performances today are: Noon — The Wild Stuff; 1:15 - Robin Lacy & DeZydeco; 2:45 — Elaine & the Biscaynes; 5:00 - Wild Blue Yonder.


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