HERMITAGE – Amber Hellmann and her friend Kathy Snider checked out pottery at the Pease Pots booth Saturday afternoon.
Darla Rogers of Hermitage, owner of the pottery business, talked to the two Erie residents about the various styles of pottery crafts she had on display. It was the first time either woman attended the Hermitage Art, Food & Music Festival held over the weekend.
They learned about the festival, celebrating its 18th year, on the internet.
“It was bigger than we thought it would be,” Snider said. “I’m impressed.”
Canceled last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the festival partially made up for it this year with lots of sunshine.
“The crowds have been great,” Rogers said. “It’s been steady all day.”
This year the festival had an international flavor. Francis Picciotto and his wife, Monica Herrera Garces showcased their coffee business – Anibal Coffee. Picciotto is originally from the Shenango Valley while his wife is a Columbian native.
“We buy the coffee beans from a very select group of coffee growers in Columbia,” Picciotto said. “And we have them roasted at O’Neill Coffee in West Middlesex.”
Stacey Keating, owner of Stella’s Sundries, said her homemade soaps were a hit with festival attendees.
“People have told be that the just feel so good to be outside,” Keating said.
Sue Ann Herald of Sharon was on hand at the event which she regularly attends. Herald bought a pair of wooden earrings from Jacob Morgan, owner of Brohana Products & Services in Sharon.
“I like to buy local,” Herald said.
Victoria Bloom was working hard at her daughter’s business, Ye Olde Kettle Popcorn. Her daughter, Chrstine, is buying the popcorn business from Phil Fisher of Girard. He was on hand to help.
“I’ve been steadily working on this recipe for over 20 years,” Fisher said.
Kettle Popcorn will be at the Tails of Hope fundraiser at Quaker Steak & Lube this Saturday.
Denise Carone, owner of Green Acres Alpacas, Greenville, said her booth had sizzling sales of socks and other clothing items made of alpaca. The alpacas are raised at her farm.
“Crowds are coming out in droves,” Carone said. “People are happy to be outside.”
Katie Winger, a college student from Sharon, popped into the booth manned by Sam Staples, Hermitage Police Department community engagement officer. Goodies from the department like rubber bracelets were offered.
Staples said the goal is to promote better relationships in the community.
Winger said at times she gets a little edgy around police.
“I don’t like it when police pull me over,” she said.
“I don’t like it when police pull me over either,” Staples said with a broad smile.