‘Going green’ with Springfest at the Pajama Factory

Spring is in the air at Williamsport’s Pajama Factory, 1307 Park Ave., as the creative community comes together to present their annual Springfest from noon to 5 p.m. Saturday. A day when artists open their studios, teach classes and workshops, paint faces, and play games, Springfest is sure to have something for everyone.

Ten years ago, Mark and Suzanne Winkelman purchased the building complex, and the Pajama Factory began to thrive. Described as a “community of people who have come together to build off of each other’s strengths and dreams in order to create something bigger than themselves,” the Pajama Factory’s goal is “to foster a unique work and work/live community by bringing together established and emerging artists, businesses, entrepreneurs, craftspeople and community groups.”

Event Coordinator Danielle Velkoff explained, “2017 marks the 10th Anniversary of the Pajama Factory and the 100th Anniversary of buildings 7, 9 and 10. We are using each of our events this year as an opportunity to thank our tenants and the local community of Williamsport for supporting us and making this vision a reality. The tenants are truly what makes the Pajama Factory the unique makers space it has come to be — each one adding their own color and flavor to this exciting mix of artists, entrepreneurs and craftsman.”

In addition to growing within the Factory, the tenants have become part of a larger neighborhood community as well: “We have been supported and encouraged by the local neighborhood around the Factory, and have enjoyed watching this relationship grow. We hope to find even more ways we can reach out to our local community with initiatives like our free neighborhood wifi and our future plans of establishing a Community Garden,” Velkoff said.

Once known as “Mayfest,” the event has received more than just a name change to “Springfest.” Velkoff said, “We decided to use our 10th anniversary as an opportunity to check-in with our tenants about what they would like to see regarding events at the Factory, so we sent out a survey and the results came back that our tenants would like to see a Spring Festival. By calling it Springfest, we have the ability to move the date around to work with and support other events in the city. It also gives us the flexibility to move the event earlier if we want to focus on our Community Garden outreach initiative earlier in the planting season.”

And with the flexibility of date comes a flexibility of focus for the event. “This year we are “Going Green” with the launch of several new conservation initiatives for the building and the local community,” said Velkoff.

“We have setup a tenant run committee to work on specific gardening zones around our complex a few of which will be established used in our Community Gardening Initiative,” continued Velkoff. “We will work with the local Williamsport community on creating a new community garden for all to enjoy.”

For the Springfest event, the Penn State Master Gardener Program will provide gardening and composting workshops throughout the day: Composting 101, 12:30 p.m.; Art with Plants, 2:30 p.m.; and Vertical Gardening, 4 p.m.

From 1-3 p.m., artist Joanne Landis will be hosting a fashion sketching class for illustration and design. “This class is a preview of a more in depth course being offered to those who are interested,” said Velkoff. There is a fee for the course.

At 4 p.m., Factory Works Gallery will host an opening reception for the exhibit of Valerie Beggs, owner and mastermind behind “Make What you Wear,” a retrospective that will remain on display in the Gallery from Saturday through May 27.

“At 7:30 p.m., we have a guest theatre artist, David Stephens, in from Connecticut to do a one-night performance of the ‘The Devil and Daniel Webster,’ “ said Velkoff.

Alongside the gardening initiative, the Pajama Factory also is launching a “Neighborhood Wifi” plan (which provides the neighborhood surrounding the Factory access to free wifi) and a more formalized recycling program for the building. Velkoff elaborated, “We have already invested in resealing and restoring all of our historic window panes. We also have a goal to move all of our lightbulbs in the building over to LEDs.”

“We are also doing a collaboration with the City of Williamsport to promote their StrEAT Festival and they will be promoting our Springfest event,” said Velkoff. “It’s really wonderful that the city of Williamsport and the Pajama Factory can work together to support each other’s events in this way!”

More information about Springfest — and all other exciting events happening at the Pajama Factory — can be found online at www.paja mafactory.net.

Questions regarding classes or vendor opportunities for Springfest can be sent to events@pajamafactory.net.

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