Some new twists have been added to Marietta's first Merchants and Artist Walk of the 2013 season on Friday."This is the first time the walk has been held in May," said Mallory Greenham, executive director of ReStore Marietta, which helps coordinate the event in downtown Marietta and the Harmar District. "We did a survey of merchants and some community members last year, and the consensus was to have an event this month as well as in June, July, August and a holiday walk in November."
Friday's Merchants and Artist Walk will be held from 6 to 9 p.m., and will feature artists and stores in the first two blocks of Putnam Street, as well as along Second and Front streets, in addition to Maple Street just across the Historic Harmar Railroad Bridge in the Harmar district.
"One new feature is that we'll have two live music locations-one in Harmar at the west end of the railroad bridge, and another will be located in Mahone's Tire garage in the 100 block of Front Street," Greenham said.
SAM SHAWVER The Marietta Times
Riverside Artists Gallery member and ornamental ironworker Betsy Cook works on a display in preparation for Marietta’s first Merchants and Artist Walk of 2013 on Friday evening.
Cadillac Lester will perform at the Front Street locale, and an ensemble of local musicians will be playing in Harmar.
The number of merchants participating in the Merchants and Artist Walks is growing, too, Greenham said, from 20 to 30 in past years to nearly 40 who are taking part in Friday's event.
"There will be several new artists in the stores, too," she said. "And the new Peoples Bank Theatre (former Colony Theatre) will also sponsor live entertainment for the evening."
If you go
What: Marietta's first Merchants and Artist Walk of the season.
Where: Throughout downtown Marietta and the Historic Harmar District.
When: 6 to 9 p.m. Friday.
Who: 40 merchants hosting dozens of artists, musicians and other performers.
Parking: Free parking in city lots on Front Street beside the Putnam Bridge; beside the National Guard Armory; and along the Ohio River on the south side of the Lafayette Hotel. Free parking is also available in city lots at the corner of Second and Butler streets as well as the Parking Partners lot in the 200 block of Second Street.
Some of the artists will include chainsaw sculptor Dave Ferguson demonstrating his unique art form at The Workingman's Store on Putnam Street and George McWilliams, a West Virginia watercolorist, and local ornamental ironworker Betsy Cook at the Riverside Artists Gallery on Second Street.
"I use other forms, but watercolor is probably my primary medium. I grew up in Maryland, a couple miles from the Potomac River, and all around was farmland," McWilliams, now living in Palestine, W.Va., said. "So I do a lot of landscapes and maritime paintings."
A member of the Riverside Artists group until two or three years ago, he recalled the Merchants and Artist Walks were a great way to get people to get acquainted with the works of local artists.
Cook said more than 25 artists will be scattered throughout the downtown and Harmar areas during Friday's event, in addition to musicians and other entertainers.
"And we hope everyone will take some time to visit our gallery, too," she said.
Although some artists and street musicians may be seen out on the sidewalks, Teri Ann Pfeffer, owner of Teri Ann's on Front Street, noted most stores also have artists located inside.
"It's a good opportunity for people to stroll through town and stop in the many stores to preview what they have. Many people are surprised at the wide variety of shops we have in Marietta," she said. "It's a great event and a nice evening out for the whole family."
Pfeffer said the Merchants and Artist Walks have been held since 1997.
"At that time it was the Merchants and Artist Walking Tour," she said. "And the purpose has remained the same-to bring people into town to experience our vibrant downtown community. It also provides a great venue for artists to sell their wares and for people to explore the variety of shops and merchandise on a fun and pleasant night."
Greenham said Friday's Merchants and Artist Walk will be pleasing to old and newcomers alike.
"We aimed at keeping it fresh, interesting, and exciting. In addition to adding our first ever walk in May, we have also added live entertainment and artistic expression components to this year's walks; these range from live music to performing magicians," she said. "There's something for everyone to come out and enjoy."
Greenham noted there is no Merchants and Artist Walk in September due to a preponderance of local festivals and other events during that month, but there will be a Moonlight and Chocolate Walk scheduled in October.