Octofest: a funk fall festival

First time event showcases city's creative community

The Pajama Factory, 1307 Park Ave., is trying something new — and funky — this weekend with their inaugural event, Octofest. Taking place 6-10 p.m. Friday and 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. and 7-10 p.m. Saturday, the Pajama Factory will be a place for everyone, with music, crafts, food, art and more.

According to Danielle Velkoff, head of events and business development at the Pajama Factory, the name for the event came from a brainstorming session with Kyle Huggins, Factory tenant and owner of Kyle Huggins Design & Photography.

“We wanted to find a name that represented our arts festival happening in October, but that would also embody the quirky, offbeat side of our creative community,” Velkoff said. Huggins came up with the idea of calling the event “Octofest” and using an octopus as the graphics.

“At first we laughed, but then we realized it was spot on. Each of its eight legs representing all the different aspects of what we have happening — not only at this event in particular — but our community as a whole. It was perfect, fun and funky, just like us,” she continued.

Starting at 6 p.m. Friday, the Pajama Factory artist studios will be open for the community to come see what they have to offer, as well as live performances in the Community Room from Urie Kline of Lyco Taiko, Bob Ventrello and Rebecca Elkins. Real Taste Catering will have Mexican street food for the crowd to enjoy and the Williamsport Trolley will be running from downtown, to Lycoming College and Penn College and then to the Pajama Factory for attendees to enjoy all the happenings that night, along with First Friday. Factory Works Gallery will have an exhibit, “ArtSHOW17,” which Brian Spies, director of the gallery, described as “an invitational group exhibition highlighting work being created by artists in and around Williamsport, including artists from as far away as Lock Haven and Lewisburg.”

Saturday’s festivities will start at 11 a.m. with a Pumpkin Carving contest hosted by the PJF Garden Committee. Festival attendees will have their pumpkins judged at 6:30 p.m. where the Best Overall Winner will be awarded a cash prize.

There will be live music in the Courtyard Gazebo from noon to 3 p.m. with Clayton Merrill Jr., David Pulizzi, Indigo & Heath, as well as Stacia Abernatha. Leonard’s Backyard Bistro also will be on site.

From 7-10 p.m. Saturday, a live music event will feature local bands BOOTH35 and Royal Benson, who will be joined by Tigers + Thieves from Philadelphia, who are visiting Williamsport for the first time.

The weekend will also feature an #OCTOPAS. “It’s a small card that lists all the different artists’ studios and spaces that will be open on Friday and Saturday. Get eight stamps from eight different studios and you’ll be entered for a chance to win special Factory-made prizes,” Velkoff said.

The opportunities to see and venture into what the Pajama Factory community has to offer will all be available this weekend. Included in the events this weekend are painting classes offered by Charles Black, PJF tenant, BATHVS launching their fall product line, Val Beggs of “Make What You Wear” offering sewing demos and classes on building a Halloween Costume, yoga demonstrations by Clear Sphere and Factory Works Clay Studio showing festival goers how to throw clay — and that’s just to name a few.

“Events like these bring the community together,” Velkoff said. “For example, getting the Williamsport Trolley involved has been a joint effort and collaboration between the Williamsport Business Association, Lycoming Arts and the Pajama Factory to fully integrate all that we have happening in Williamsport on First Friday. It is wonderful to see organizations working together for the benefit of our local community. Our hope is this events like these will lead into periodic Arts Weekends for the city. Giving folks a place to come too on the weekends and experience our beautiful downtown, eat at amazing restaurants and partake in the rich arts and culture we have to offer. We can accomplish so much more working together than working apart.”

Annelise Latini, holistic life coach and owner of Clear Sphere, enjoys the opportunity events like this give the tenants at the Pajama Factory. “As a tenant, events like Octofest are a way to introduce and share my offerings with the community that may not have sought me out individually,” she said. “It’s an opportunity for the community to meet us and put a face to who the Pajama Factory Creatives are.”

Factory Works Gallery director Brian Spies enjoys the opportunity as well. “We hope that when people come out for tent pole events like Octofest it reminds them about the really cool things we have going on year round. From the gallery’s viewpoint, events like Octofest serve as promotion for what we are doing year round. We are an experimental art space that sees itself as an opportunity for artists to show work and experiment with ideas that are not driven by commercial concerns,” he said.

For more information on the weekends events, visit www.pajamafactory.net/ecw/octofest-a-funky-fall-festival.

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