By Megan Knowles|

For the 10th year, Roanoke’s downtown will play host to a celebration of the arts in the form of Renaissance in Roanoke. The event runs 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 14, on Main Street.

“We usually average about 50 juried fine art artisans of a variety of mediums,” former event chairperson Rick Fischer said. He and current chair Ruth Marsh listed just a few, including jewelry, stone carving, woodworking and more.

“We have lots of new vendors this year,” Marsh said, adding one new vendor makes “amazing” furniture, while another new one specializes in steampunk-style work.

Being a juried show, artists must submit their work to a panel of judges, the majority of whom must agree for their work to make it to the show. The committee tries to have a limit on the number of artists in a particular medium so there is variety on display.

While all the vendors will have their works on show, Marsh said she also likes to get artists — whether woodworkers, painters or sculptors — who make art throughout the day.

This is exemplified by the plein air paint-out the festival has hosted every year, where artists paint in the open air the day of the festival for prizes.

Seeing artists at work is popular, Marsh said.

“It’s interesting to see how they go about making that canvas look the way they do,” she said of the plein air painters.

Children also get an opportunity to get involved in the plein air and other art activities. The week before, second- through fifth-graders at Roanoke Elementary School have their own open air painting sessions. On the day of the festival, their work is on display for all to see.

“The kids enjoy seeing their art hanging up there on Saturday morning,” Marsh said of the student paint-out, adding parents and grandparents enjoy the work too. The children’s content is also judged and prizes are given.

There will also be a children’s activity area, Fischer said, where artisans will teach kids with various hands-on activities. “We always try to have something fun and educational,” he said.

The celebration of the arts doesn’t end with the fine arts, however. The Huntington Children’s Choir will perform in the morning, Marsh said, with Joe Justice performing in the evening.

There will also be several buskers, or street performers, from Fort Wayne throughout the event, “to kind of help entertain the public as they come down and browse and shop,” Fischer said.

Many local restaurants and businesses will be open for the festival and there will be food truck vendors in the form of Huntington’s JB’s Cuisine Machine and Head2Hock out of Fort Wayne. In addition, the local farmers market will be open, offering locally grown produce and homemade foods.

“We try to make it so there’s something affordable for everyone,” Marsh said.

All of the money raised from the event goes to the Roanoke Arts Council and to beautification efforts in downtown Roanoke.

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