Greater Harrisburg's Community Magazine

Harrisburg’s Artsfest to bring back in-person artisan market, food truck experience

A scene from Artsfest 2019

Harrisburg artists and art lovers, rejoice! A taste of normalcy is returning to the city.

Artsfest, Harrisburg’s annual artisan market and food truck festival, will return for a hybrid in-person and virtual experience on May 29 through 31.

“While the traditional festival will be different this year, we look forward to welcoming back the talented artisans in a safe and modified way,” said Mayor Eric Papenfuse.

The festival, typically held at Riverfront Park, will move to City Island this year to facilitate social distancing. As in past years, it will feature vendors and their handcrafted works, along with local food trucks.

Last year, Artsfest went completely virtual due to the COVID-19 pandemic. For 2021, the city plans to keep aspects of the virtual event, including an online artisan market and virtual presentations. However, they plan to bring back some of the traditional in-person shopping experience.

Attendees can browse items for sale in 16 different categories, including ceramics, digital, drawing, fiber (decorative and wearable), furniture, glass, jewelry, leather, metal, mixed media, painting, photography, printmaking, sculpture and wood.

The event has historically hosted over 200 artists, but officials say the number of vendors will be reduced somewhat.

The HBG Flea, an organization that hosts pop-up markets in the city, will return as a partner in the event.

“We’re so excited that Artsfest is coming back,” said Mary Imgrund, HBG Flea co-founder.

“Our collaboration introduces dozens of local artists to a wider audience and emphasizes the importance of shopping locally to the lives of the incredible artists and artisans living in central PA,” she said.

Jazzfest, which usually goes hand-in-hand with Artsfest, is cancelled this year, and the Filmfest portion will livestream movies virtually. For families, the city will offer free take-home educational and artistic kits, replacing the usual KidsFest.

According to city officials, health precautions will be in place during the festival, including one-direction pedestrian traffic, capacity monitoring, hand-washing stations, vendors spaced 10 feet apart and social distancing markers. Masks will also be required.

The city plans to return Artsfest to Riverfront Park in 2022.

Artsfest is sponsored by Visit Hershey & Harrisburg, ExploreHBG and Capital BlueCross.

For more information on Artsfest, visit the City of Harrisburg’s website.

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