Participants in the annual Harrison Rally Day pack Louisiana Avenue. Part art fair, part business exhibit, the festival offered a morning parade and an eclectic mix of entertainment.
Finding a parking space Saturday in downtown Perrysburg was no easy task, as thousands of people descended on the city's historic district for the annual Harrison Rally Day.
Part art fair, part business exhibit - with children's activities, live music, and food thrown in - the festival offered an eclectic mix of entertainment for local residents and visitors.
Participants included 95 artists and artisans from across Ohio and Michigan plus more than 100 area organizations and businesses.
Organizers estimated as many as 10,000 people turned out for the event, which included a morning parade and an after-party on the Perrysburg waterfront.
Haley Getzinger, 3, bounces down a huge inflatable slide, one of the activities for children on Harrison Rally Day.
"It's a good marriage of the mixes. I think that's what really makes it work," said Sandy Latchem, executive director of the Perrysburg Area Chamber of Commerce, which put on the event together with the Perrysburg Area Arts Council.
"It's a feel-good day. People in Perrysburg come here, they socialize, they see people they haven't seen in a long time. People love this event."
Artistic ware on display this year included pottery, jewelry, sculptures, paintings, and glassware. Prices ranged from a couple of dollars to a few hundred.
Perrysburg resident Diane Davis said she goes to the festival every year to buy jewelry in advance of her birthday. She said she enjoys the process of buying items from the artists themselves.
Brenda Youel of Perrysburg shops for earrings at the festival. The art fair featured 95 artists and artisans from across Ohio and Michigan.
"I just like to support artists," said Ms. Davis, who also bought some pottery, a wooden bowl, and a tie-dye T-shirt. "I really enjoy getting to talk to them about what they do."
Connie Bricker of Perrysburg also bought some artwork, including a quilt, a bracelet, and a collection of prints. Many visitors cited good weather and a laid-back, community feel as their reason for attending the festival.
Anne O'Brien and her friend Valerie Murphy spent the entire day at the event, browsing the stalls, drinking coffee, eating lunch, and stopping in at local stores.
"It's wonderful to be able to wander up and down the streets without traffic," Ms. O'Brien said. "It's a great way to run into neighbors."
Valerie French, executive director for the Perrysburg Area Arts Council, said she was pleasantly surprised by the large turnout to the rally day, given the shaky economy.
"I think a lot of people are looking to go out and do things in the community that are free," she said.
"The crowd seems bigger, and several people have made comments to that effect."
This year also brought a surge of interest from vendors, Ms. French added. She said all the booths were booked a month in advance, and many people were left on the waiting list.
The festival included a juried art show in which 24 artists participated. Dawn Miller from Toledo, who makes metal corsets, clothing, and jewelry, won best of show. She said she only recently became a full-time artist, and Harrison Rally Day was her first art show.
"I had to jump up and down," Ms. Miller said. "You always hope you're going to win first place, that's your goal. But I try to remain humble."
Harrison Rally Day is named for a presidential rally held in Perrysburg in the 1800s for William Henry Harrison, an important figure in the evolution of the Northwest Territory who went on to become the ninth president of the United States.
Contact Claudia Boyd-Barrett at: