The Journal Gazette
Sunday, August 01, 2021 1:00 am

Art fair draws record crowd

Enjoys weather, about 100 vendors

JAMIE DUFFY | The Journal Gazette

Two dear friends enjoyed a sunny, no-mask day Saturday sitting outside Fresh Market, sipping a healthy cold drink after making nearly identical purchases at the Covington Art Fair.

Glenda Spiece and Gloria Shamanoff, Northwest Allen County Schools assistant superintendent, had earlier discovered Ruby's Raps, an Afrocentric line of apparel designed by Ruby Ballard-Harris.

The two couldn't resist buying coats made of wool and cashmere with mud cloth trim, pulling them out of big shopping bags to show them off. Ballard-Harris purchases the mud cloth in Nigeria.

The beautiful weather Saturday brought out record crowds in the morning, said Larry Wardlaw, who helped organize the event with Glenda Stoppenhagen, art fair coordinator.

The two-day event at the Covington Plaza shopping mall on West Jefferson Boulevard usually attracts about 4,000 people, Stoppenhagen said. This year marked the 29th show and her 15th as coordinator, she added.

Stoppenhagen said 98 artists offered merchandise as varied as photography, jewelry, pottery, metalwork, glassware, acrylic and oil paintings, and textiles, including clothing and purses.

Most of the stores and restaurants at the outdoor mall were also open, offering a long and relaxed shopping day.

Nancy Fritz sold her own yoga-inspired graphic prints outside Fusion Yoga, where her artwork is featured. Shoppers were drawn to her unusual wood and acrylic earrings and other jewelry. She said big sellers included earrings with candy heart phrases like “Love,” “Be Mine” and the nearly sold-out “Love Tacos.”

Saturday brought a special encounter for retired art teacher Kathryn Farnsworth, who stopped by Ruby's Raps. She remembered buying a jacket from Ballard-Harris about 20 years ago in Indianapolis, but now it was too big.

Ballard-Harris took a look at her and recognized Farnsworth.

“I remember faces,” Ballard-Harris said and offered to alter it. “I just like designing for people who want something different.”

Ballard-Harris, a retired home economics teacher, travels to shows with her great-niece Nicole Patterson-Cline, a bike mechanic who races bikes and also lives in Indianapolis.

The show continues from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. today. A jazz band will entertain from noon to 2:30 p.m.

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