Artisan Mindy King of Guysville in Athens County got in just under the wire with a chair caning demonstration during the first Merchants and Artists Walk of the season in downtown Marietta Friday.
It was her first event in Marietta and she drew a steady crowd at Renovations and Fireplaces, 219 Second St.
"I heard about it last night, contacted them this morning and was approved at 1:30 (p.m.) today," she said. "I can't be here in July, but wild horses couldn't keep me away in August."
CONNIE CARTMELL The Marietta Times
Mindy King, of Chair Caning and Weaving of Guysville, demonstrates her craft at Renovations and Fireplaces, 219 Second St. during Friday’s Merchants and Artists Walk.
Upcoming Merchants and Artists Walks will be on July 10 and Aug. 14.
The next two downtown Friday walks are July 10 and Aug. 14.
Tammy Wilson, chairman of the event was excited about Friday's turnout for the start of the 13th season.
"It's a great night to kick off our first one of summer" she said. "The streets were full of people."
Wilson said 36 merchants participated along with more than 30 artists.
The newly refurbished Front Street offered an additional plus for hundreds who came early and stayed late.
"It was wonderful," Donna Marks of Fleming said Friday. "I saw so many people I know and the weather was beautiful."
Marks and her husband, Jack, watched King demonstrate her caning skill. In addition to the traditional seven-step cane seat, there were tiny chairs showing more unusual cane, rush, shaker, and even corn-shucked seats.
"I've done one chair myself and I may try it one more time," Jack Marks, a retired math teacher at Warren High School said after watching King work her magic.
A big part of her craft is all about education, restoration, and preservation, she said.
"We don't have a single matching chair at home," she said with a laugh. "I could never leave a lonely, decrepit chair."
For Dwight Ullman, owner of Renovations and Fireplaces, the night was a win-win situation.
"It's been a good night for us," he said. "We've set some appointments and have met a lot of people."
The store moved from Greene Street in March and Ullman said there is no comparison in locations.
Around the corner on Front Street, things were hopping.
Children's book author Kelly Kinsolving of Alum Creek near Charleston, W.Va., was guest artist at Sugden Book Store where she autographed her book, "Left Handed Backward Book."
"This is going to be so fun," she said earlier Friday. "I love Marietta. When my husband and I were dating (25 years ago) Marietta was our favorite place to go."