Emily Duffelmeyer and her son, Severen Anderson, age 3, discuss the large sculpture "Mosquito" created by team A Mind of Metal at last year's Scrapfest.
Helen Murphy/City Pulse

Old Town’s latest festival features live music, food vendors, a beer tent — and 9,000 of pounds of scrap metal. ScrapFest, originally part of the Festival of the Moon and Sun, invites local artists to turn piles of discarded metal into works of art.

"ScrapFest is an art sculpture competition, art fair and art auction benefiting artists and the continued mission of the Old Town Commercial Association,” said David Such, creative director of Scrapfest and partner at Such Video. “Artists and teams have one hour to collect up to 500 pounds of scrap material donated by Friedland Industries in Old Town. They have two weeks to build whatever they want from the metal they've collected."

Since its debut in 2009, ScrapFest has gone from a festival sideshow to a standalone event that draws thousands of people to Old Town. Last year’s event pulled in an estimated 2,500 visitors.

"It became its own standalone event in 2015,” Such said. “It was originally paired with the Festival of the Moon and Sun because we were not sure how the event would be received. It was — and continues to be — embraced by the Lansing and mid-Michigan communities."

Such believes that the success of the event is driven by the quality of the artists it attracts.

"There is one thing that has remained the same year after year for ScrapFest, and that is good art,” he said. “It is extremely difficult to create sculpture from scrap in just two weeks, but year after year the artists who embrace this challenge create some of the most imaginative, artful pieces."

Local artist Andrew Sandstedt has competed in ScrapFest every year since its debut in 2009.

"This year I did a big coy fish, about 6 feet tall, with Japanese waves behind it,” Sandstedt said. "I usually try to come up with stuff I would put in my own home. I really like Japanese art and organic pieces, so they inspire a lot of my work."

The event culminates in an award ceremony and auction at 7:45 p.m. Saturday. Juried cash prizes are awarded to the top three sculptures, then all the pieces are auctioned off. Half of the proceeds are given to the artists and the other half is donated to the Old Town Commercial Association. All of the pieces will be on display throughout the festival.

"The pieces are judged by a panel of art professionals, and the top three teams will be awarded," Such said. "The public will be able to cast votes for their favorite, which will receive the Robert Busby People's Choice Award.”

"I took second place three years ago, and all the pieces I have done have auctioned," Sandstedt said. "I'm hoping to auction better than last year."

This year, the festival is moving from the Caesar Chavez Plaza to Turner Street. Also new to this year’s festival are child-friendly art education activities.

"We would love for the streets of Old Town to be filled with people enjoying art and each other," Such said. "We'd like them to leave with a sense that they live in a community that cares about art and hope that it serves as an inspiration to all."


6-10 p.m. Friday, July 15;
noon-5 p.m. Saturday, July 16
Turner Street, Old Town, Lansing
(517) 485-4283, oldtownscrapfest.org