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The sun will be glaring down on Turner Street today for Old Town’s ArtFeast. The food and art event returns marking its fifth year in a row, where artists of all kinds and food trucks gather together to make new connections. ArtFeast first got its start back in 2014 with only just 19 artist and three food trucks. This year in 2019 the ArtFeast is set to host 91 artist and four food trucks.
“This is a growing festival and does many things to create a better economy, including giving a platform for many new artists as well as bringing new visitors to the community,” said Executive Director Vanessa Shafer, the lead coordinator of the festival.
New to the ArtFeast, artist Rebekah Small is a 24-year-old Hartland, MI native. She moved to Lansing in 2014 and fell in love with the east side neighborhood. She will be showcasing her original digital vector art in the form of postcards and stickers. She also creates handmade accessories that include moonstones and other types of crystal jewelry.
According to Shafer, part of the festival’s growth is due to vendors returning each year. ArtFeast veteran, Melissa Strengberg has participated as a vendor since the very beginning. This year, she will be displaying her mosaics and ink drawings. She has a co-op with the store in Old Town called Great Lakes Arts and Gift where she sells her work. Sterenberg described her artistic process as “making something out of nothing.”
In her mosaics, she uses a wide variety of items such as beads, brightly-colored stained glass, broken plates and tiles. Sterenberg said what keeps her coming back to “the number one art festival in Old Town,” is the opportunity to network with customers and build a name for herself.
Although many people may come for the art, the food is another big pull. Fire & Rice will return for a second year, making it one of four local food trucks participating in this year’s feast. Owner Nick Neveau opened Fire & Rice in 2016. He said his company caters to about “80% of all dietary needs,” adding that the majority of his menu is nut, gluten and dairy-free. Neveau stated that he has vegan-friendly options, such as their Spanish paella, but also caters to the meat-eaters.
The food trucks will be located at the north end of the festival, closer to North Street. ArtFeast is a kid-friendly event, however those interested in alcoholic beverages can visit the neighboring bars. Parking is available along the side streets and in the lot at the corner of Cesar E. Chavez Avenue and Turner Street.