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Turning junk into gems

Annual Scrapfest challenges artists to turn something old into something amazing

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Wednesday, June 22 — What do you get when youcross 9,000 pounds of scrap metal with 18 teams of enthusiastic welders, artistsand families? Aside from a healthy dose of upcycled art, you also form thebasis of the third annual Oldtown Scrapfest.

Participating teams weregiven one hour to collect up to 500 pounds of discarded scrap metal fromFriedland Industries’ scrap yard and two weeks to craft their materials andideas into metallic realities. Brittney Hoszkiw, the executive director for theOld Town Commercial Association, described the process as an exciting scene of “organizedchaos” as everyone scrambled to collect their materials. This Friday andSaturday, the 18 sculptures will be out on display in the parking lot nearTurner Street and Grand River.

“Expect to be surprised!”Hoszkiw excitedly advises to anyone interested in attending Scrapfest, whichwill be held in conjunction with Oldtown’s Festivals of the Moon and Sun. “It’san unusual event. Even for us who are involved, we’re always surprised to seethe different items created for the event.”

If you fall in love withany of the masterpieces, you’re in luck: Each artwork is up for auction, andbids will be accepted from 6 p.m. to 11 p.m. Friday and 2 p.m. to 9 p.m.Saturday. One-third of the winning bid will be given to the creating artist/sas a stipend for the time and materials they spend, and the rest will becollected by the Old Town Commercial Association as a fundraiser to promote andsupport future and current public art events. In previous years, the averagewinning bids were around $500, but the total can vary greatly. Smaller piecesof recycled scrap art, such as magnets and pins, will also be available forpurchase.

Aside from offeringentertaining eye candy for the public and providing financial support for artprograms, Scrapfest also has a competitive edge. A panel of judges willevaluate each of the sculptures and prizes will be awarded to first and secondplace at 6 p.m. on Saturday. The public is also encouraged to participate bycompleting voting ballots for a people’s choice award.

Last year, an estimated10,000 people visited and viewed the sculptures, and this year, that number isexpected to grow.

Visitoldtownscrapfest.com for more information, or to view videos of the scrapcollection and creative process involved in turning trash into treasure.

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