Vendors Make the Journey to Ellwood City

Thursday is officially setup day, and although the majority of vendors at the 2011 Ellwood City Arts, Crafts, and Food Festival are from Pennsylvania, there is an impressive representation from numerous other states.

In fact, according to the festival vendor listing, 17 different states make up the 200 plus arts and craft vendors at this year’s festival – it’s pretty remarkable for such a small town.

Pennsylvania, Ohio, West Virginia, Illinois, New York, Delaware, Florida, North Carolina, Virginia, Arizona, Maryland, Alabama, Michigan, Arizona, South Dakota, Kentucky, and California make up this year’s vendor representation.

“The festival draws so many vendors and patrons from all areas to Ellwood City and makes for a fun and exciting holiday weekend,” said Cheryl Valvano, chairwoman of the festival’s craft committee.

Vendors are coming from all over the United States to attend the Ellwood City Festival to show off their arts and craft talents. States shaded in yellow show the representation from across the country.

About 50 new vendors will be part of this 31st annual festival in the park, making up approximately 221 total vendors – and, as with every year, there is a diverse group of vendors showing their creative side through their arts and crafts.

“We have such a diverse group of artists and crafters from all over the U.S. as well as locally,” said Valvano. “And, after talking to some of the crafters, I discovered that our Festival has a very good reputation.”

Valvano, as of this year’s festival, is new to the role of chairwoman for the craft committee. She replaces the former chairwoman Lynn Jones.

There are tons of diverse vendors and numerous exciting varieties of arts and crafts – some are new to the 2011 Festival while others are annually in attendance.

Author and Pastor John Zingaro, formerly of Ellwood City, will be present with his book, Spellman: One Man’s Influence, a story on the legendary high school baseball coach Bill Spellman of Ellwood City.

Rev. Zingaro is the pastor of First Presbyterian Church in Newton, New Jersey, and became a sports writer at the age of 15. Now 54, he has received several awards as a journalist and has written four books, as according to his profile on, where his book is for sale.

Zingaro’s books include Harry Potter Sermons (illustrations of biblical truths), Thielemann: the preacher’s preacher (about the life and craft of the Rev. Bruce Thielemann) and Who Are the Faithful? The struggle for truth against fundamentalism (how to believe both the Bible and science).

The artist Marcy Bates from Cranberry, a brand new vendor this year, will be in attendance with her recycled books known as “Recycled Reads.”

These books are unique; they are outdated or in such disrepair that they can no longer function as literature. Bates takes these books and turns them into art. She also makes paper pottery by rolling paper, an interesting art to say the least.

Retired school teacher from Mohawk, Rick Cox will once again be an exciting part of the annual festival in the park, showing off his chainsaw carving skills.

An award-winning carver and a master at his craft, Rick creates deep relief carvings, figures, animals, portraits, caricatures, shallow relief and chip carving. In 2006, Rick’s wife Sue began traveling and carving with him. The husband and wife team work to produce a variety of quality carvings at each event.

“The vendors are so numerous, it’s hard to pick favorites but there are a few I can’t wait to check out,” said Valvano. “There’s the jellyfish sculptures, items made from recycled books, two metal sculptors, jewelers, and night lights made from recycled items…not to mention all of the mouth watering food.”

The 31st annual Arts, Crafts, and Food Festival will begin on Friday at 11 a.m. For a detailed map of the festival grounds, see the Festival map – print it out and take it with you.

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