Stephanie Sokol for The Oakland Press
Artwork, treats and entertainment will fill Rochester Municipal Park, along Paint Creek Trail, for the 48th annual Art & Apples Festival this week.
What started as one large tent and a few Rochester artists eventually was picked up by Paint Creek Center for the Arts and grew into a fair featuring more than 290 local and national artists.
Today, Art & Apples is Michigan’s second largest art fair, ranked 13 in the nation by Sunshine Magazine.
FYI: The 48th annual Art & Apples Festival takes place Sept. 6-8 at Rochester Park in Rochester. Hours are 4 to 7:30 p.m. Friday, 9 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. Saturday and 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday. Admission is free, with a suggested donation of $5. Proceeds benefit the Paint Creek Center for the Arts. Visit www.artapples.com for directions and more information.
“Art is important because it allows us to see things in a different way that we might not typically see them,” festival Director Laura Bates said. “Once you get art into your life you start to see things differently.”
Milford residents Karri and Michael Mohr of The Painted Garden have brought their hand-painted slate tiles to the festival for 10 years.
Michael said Karri’s mother started the slate painting, and they picked up the idea because it suited their love of nature.
The Painted Garden’s art is made with imported slate, which they embellish. Michael said he and his wife enjoy working Art & Apples, naming it among their top three shows in the nation.
“The surroundings at Art & Apples Festival are beautiful — the rolling
hills, Paint Creek running right through it,” Michael said. “The mature trees are beautiful, providing a lot of shade, which is always a plus, and the quality of art is always top-notch.”
In addition to the art, the apple pie-baking contest is a newer tradition to the festival, which started seven years ago and has become a favorite among guests, Bates said. Winners receive a pie plate or dessert dish created by PCCA artists.
“We have a few apple-related things at the festival each year,” Bates said. “This year, Yates Cider Mill will be doing the apple pies on Saturday, and the Boy Scouts will be doing their pies on Friday and Sunday. And we also have the apple pie contest in its seventh year. The contest has become a really good part of the festival that people look forward to.”
When festivalgoers take a break from enjoying apples and art, entertainment is available on the Main and Acoustic Stages, with musical performances in addition to dance groups from studios like Deborah’s Stage Door showing off their routines.
PCCA is still seeking volunteers to work the festival. Nonprofits work to keep the festival going, so proceeds from admission donations go to benefit both them and the arts center.
“Paint Creek is one of the only arts organizations in downtown Rochester and we offer year-round classes, exhibitions in Rochester, and do different outreach programs as well,” Bates said. “So I think the festival not only makes Paint Creek’s awareness grow in the community, and the region, but it’s also a fun way for people to become a part of art.”