By TONIA HILL
People near and far came in droves to experience the DuSable Museum of African American History, 740 E. 56th Pl., annual arts and crafts festival last Saturday and Sunday.
This year, marked the 43rd year for the two-day festival that featured live entertainment, more than 150 fine/craft artists, educational seminars, pony rides, a children’s pavilion, farmer’s market, and much more.
The festival is the brainchild of Dr. Margaret Burroughs, the founder of the DuSable Museum. The first festival was held in 1974 and since then its grown in popularity.
The theme for this year’s festival was in celebration of Burroughs who would have celebrated her 100th birthday this year. She passed away in 2010.
Marilyn Hunter, manager of Arts and Crafts Festival, believes that Burroughs would be pleased with how the festival has grown over the last 40 plus years.
“When she [Burroughs] started this festival in 1974 she only had eight vendors,” Hunter said. “Today we had 160 vendors.”
Hunter has managed the festival for 17 years, what she enjoys most year after year is the entertainment.
“The entertainment is always local entertainment,” Hunter said. “Dr. Burroughs always wanted a place where we could showcase us and so we make sure that we use local everything.”
The stage set right outside the front entrance of the museum, included DJs such as Sam Chatman, Caspar & Al Green who presented “Steppin’ at the Fest” to the crowd as well as Maurice “Ice” Culpepper and Farley Jackmaster Funk who presented old school dance and house music to the vibrant crowd.
The event also features local and international craft and fine art artists who work in traditional, ethnic, and experimental fine arts. Their work includes head wraps, African garb, handcrafted jewelry, oils, body and hair butters and literature.
The public had the opportunity to engage with artists and purchase mementos for their homes.
New to the festival this year, were the pony rides provided by Buffalo Soldiers.
Attendees were also able to tour the DuSable Museum at no cost.