Homemade Days

4th annual event to showcase local handcrafted art

Each year, Williamsport’s annual Homemade Days arts and crafts show brings together local vendors to sell their products and provides musical entertainment for area residents and visitors alike. This will be the fourth year for the annual two-day event, which will be held from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. June 23 and from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. June 24 in Brandon Park at the north end of Market Street.

The purpose of Homemade Days is to expose and educate both students and individuals of the region to art in all forms, as well as provide an event for artisans to display and sell their wares to a regional base of art lovers. Homemade Days looks to evolve and grow as a show, but stay true to their mission and original concept of all things handcrafted or “homemade.”

The annual arts and crafts show draws in an estimated 8,000 to 10,000 visitors during the two-day event each June. In addition to the arts and crafts, visitors of all ages enjoy live musical entertainment and a variety of food vendors.

The Homemade Days event was the creation of local and Williamsport Area School District art teacher Doris Heller (Teufel), who served as the cultural director for the city, in her inaugural year.

“I’ve asked Doris if she would do us the honor of being the Honorary Chair of the 2017 event and she accepted my offer,” said Thad Meckley, chairman of the Brandon Park Commission, the Homemade Days 2017 committee and owner and publisher of Williamsport Living Magazine. “I’m thrilled about this, especially that we’re going back to our roots this year to re-energize the beloved arts and crafts show, bringing it back to its pure form in its entire original setting.”

Teufel, now 84, shared with Meckley that the idea for the arts and crafts event came about from a conversation with another local artist, Marie Winton, who like Heller belonged to the Bald Eagle Art League (BEAL).

“They discussed ‘the need and desire for a non-juried show where local craftsmen could present their crafts,’ “ Meckley said.

From there, Heller went to work in creating the first “Ho-Made Days,” as she deemed it, designing an event logo, gathering friends and other artists to exhibit their work and putting on the two-day show in 1971. Moving up to Williamsport Area High School from Roosevelt Middle School, as an art teacher, Heller ran the show until 1981, the year after marrying her husband Thomas Teufel.

“The first show was small and in front of the Brandon Park band shell under a tent,” Teufel said. “We even had Charlie Carpenter sleep in his truck overnight in the park to guard the artwork. And, it slipped back out and around behind the band shell where we displayed quilts to hide spots that were in dire need of painting back then. I can still see the picture that the Sun-Gazette took of this!”

“It grew every year and it then spread throughout the entire front section of Brandon Park,” Teufel added. “We grew and got so large that we ran out of electrical outlets even.”

Now, the Brandon Park commission has had numerous electrical outlets throughout the front section to light all the trees in their annual Christmas tree display, so this aspect is covered this time around in growing the show.

Vendors in the past have varied from local to national artists and local craft vendors such as:

• Windy Hill Woodturning

• Tracey’s Treasures — Glass and wood items

• Girls Gone Wired — Jewelry

• David Webster — stoneware and pottery

• Black Cat Jewelry and Greeting Cards

• Richard and Georgie Bower — Fused glass, lamp work, jewelry and wine tables

• Joanne Drake — Bird feeders and houses, whirly gigs, etc.

“This year we’re looking to increase the number of artists and craftsmen,” Meckley said. “Plus, City of Williamsport Recreation Director Jessie Novinger is attracting an enhanced group of food vendors, many of which will be repeats from the Food Truck Festival — STR-EAT Fair — that was held in May 2017.”

Aside from the arts and crafts selections, the event has a variety of food options from local to regional food vendors:

Musical entertainment planned for the two-day event included: Goodish, out of the Bellefonte State College area, playing from 4-7 p.m. June 23.

In addition to rekindling a connection with local artists and craftsmen, Homemade Days will feature a new group of regional artists and craftsmen, as well as many returning favorites and crowd pleasers, such as jewelry maker Jule Hanford of Jules Artwear and Patinaz in Williamsport, and potter David Webster of David Webster Pottery in Athens.

“We’re adding a ‘student art’ element to the show this year, looking to showcase and support art by students from the surrounding school districts,” Meckley said. “One cool new type of arts and crafts vendor we’re hoping to have is those from the ‘green’ aspect, where artists and craftsmen use recycled materials to produce green art.”

With a new infusion of food trucks and food kitchens in Williamsport over the past few years, Homemade Days is excited to add them and more to their vendors at this year’s event.

“We’re adding a lot of new ‘flavor’ and interest for those joining us for the two-day event in the park,” Meckley said. “If we have that many new food vendors of this kind, we might have to spread them out through Middle Drive through the center of Brandon Park amongst the new and expanded arts and crafts vendors!”