The 45th annual Fourth Street Festival of the Arts and Crafts will begin at 10 a.m. Saturday and Sunday on Fourth Street between Indiana Avenue and Grant Street.
The festival will feature booths with artwork from nearly 120 local, national and international artists, live music from a variety of performers, spoken word poetry readings, a children's activity booth and several booths from community organizations.
Sidney Bolam, board president of the Fourth Street festival committee, said the festival has an expansive collection of art, including 2D and 3D artwork, ceramics, glass, yard sculptures and Bolam’s favorite – jewelry. She said she’s especially looking forward to seeing work from returning local artists.
This year’s musicians will perform at the 2022 Jerry Farnsworth Music Stage on the corner of Fourth and Dunn Streets. Details about showtimes for the 11 performers are available on the Fourth Street Festival website.
The children’s activity tent will feature the Articulated Puppets Project, a Lotus Foundation hands-on activity. Kids will learn how to make their own puppets and bring them to life. Bolam said the entire festival is perfect for families.
“It's a common misconception that everything is a high, fine art price,” she said. “Last year, we had a few vendors that had tiny, sweet things down low specifically within a little kid's pocket price range. There's a lot of love for kids at our festival.”
Bolam said the festival has never had its own food vending. Instead, they invite guests to check out the various restaurants lining Fourth Street.
“We like to think of it as an opportunity for community to come together,” she said. “It truly is a celebration of actual Fourth Street. We really pride ourselves on bringing an audience to the international restaurants on Fourth Street.”
The Fourth Street festival always welcomes new volunteers, Bolam said. Volunteers should sign up online in advance, but anyone is invited to help out on the day of the festival. On a broader scale, the Fourth Street festival committee also welcomes new members or anyone interested in organizing future festivals.
Bolam said volunteering poses an exciting opportunity for people, as it means getting to be a part of Bloomington history.
“We at Fourth Street are very much in favor of positive change that helps our communities grow and helps with things like inclusion, awareness and representation,” she said. “But we also think that it's important to try and remember the things that make Bloomington special and have for the last half century.”
Bolam said she’s made wonderful memories with festival volunteers over the years. She remembered former president of the Fourth Street festival committee Vicki Munn, who passed away this year, who Bolam described as a “cool, classy lady.”
“I have a lot of nice memories of people solving problems and coming through adversity to put something beautiful together that the whole community can enjoy,” she said.
After the COVID-19 pandemic, it forced 2020’s festival to be hosted online, and Fourth Street construction shrank the size of last year’s festival. Now, Bolam said she’s thrilled that the festival will be back to its fullest scale this year.
“Fourth Street encapsulates the real soul of Bloomington,” she said. “It highlights the things that we can consider Bloomington values, like a chance to express ourselves, be unique and celebrate thinking outside the box.”
“That's what makes us people here in Bloomington.”