Marietta Merchants & Artists Tour

I really enjoyed my time playing at the Merchants & Artists Tour last night. I met a lot of great people and even made it into today’s edition of The Marietta Times.

Word spreads about Marietta
By Sam Shawver

The afternoon’s thunderstorms had moved east and skies were clearing as Marietta’s first Merchants & Artists Walk of the season began Friday evening.

Nancy Spindler, of Wheeling, W.Va., Sue Gehrig, of Shadyside, and Dick Taylor, of Martins Ferry, stepped out of a van on Front Street. The trio had traveled more than an hour to do some shopping and participate in Friday’s festivities downtown.

“We had a nice ride down. I’ve been to the Merchants &Artists Walk before, but first we went to J.T. Smith and Sons Glassworks to pick up vanload of gazing balls,” Taylor said, gesturing toward the stack of boxes piled high in the back of his van.

Spindler and Gehrig said this was their first time at the Merchants and Artists Walk, and the possibility of wet weather didn’t put them off.

merchants__artists.jpg“We’re looking forward to it,” Gehrig said.

“Besides, a little rain never hurt anybody,” added Spindler.

Jane Lea Bayne, owner of Cafenated, 186 Front St., was ready for the Friday night crowds.

“We’ll be selling a lot of cool drinks like smoothies and frozen coffees tonight,” she said. “People’s favorites seem to be the frozen mocha and mango smoothies. They really are delicious.”

Bayne said more folks seem to attend the Merchants & Artists Walk events each year.

“One customer told me that her family never misses these walks, but they only get about halfway down the block because they always meet a lot of people they know along the way,” she said.

Nanette Seligman, a pottery artist, is one of six co-owners of a new business, Creative Hands LLC, on Tiber Way.

“We just opened this month, and feature gourmet foods, regional crafts, other fine crafts, paintings, photos and regional music artists,” she said.

Her fellow co-owners include glass artist Rebecca Williamson, bookkeeper Darlene Phillips, fabric artist Cathy Beaty, potter Becky Deegan, and photographer/potter Bonnie Taylor-Thomas.

Just down the street John Horne, a guitar teacher from Athens, was strumming the blues for some merchants and artists walkers, courtesy of Artsbridge.

“Some people just walk by, and some stay and listen,” he said. “I’ve been playing for more than 20 years, and teaching guitar almost as long, but I enjoy all different types of music.”

Back on Front Street, sitting in an easy chair in front of A.A. Baldwin Jewelry by Design, Larry Tilton of the From Scratch to Finish Dulcimer Shop in Lowell was plucking on another stringed instrument, an Appalachian lap dulcimer.

“I build them out of rough lumber, wild cherry, walnut and maple,” he said. “I’ve made a lot in California and Alaska, too.”

Tilton said he saw his first dulcimer during a trip into the Blue Ridge Mountains in 1978. Now he custom-builds dulcimers and other stringed instruments.

Jewelry by Design owner Tony Baldwin said the Merchants & Artists Walk draws crowds every year.

“We usually see the highest numbers of people around 8 p.m.,” he said. “And the storms didn’t seem to keep anyone away. This is a great event.”

Across Front Street a line of nine or 10 undersized automobiles graced the sidewalk in front of the armory.

“We’re from the Ohio chapter of the King Midget Car Club,” said Richard Arnold of Marietta.

“These cars were built in Athens from 1946 to 1969,” he said.

A plate on the front of one vehicle read “Midget Motors Manufacturing Company, Athens, Ohio.”

Arnold said a total of 18 midget cars and their owners were in town for one of the club’s two or three annual meets.

“We’re having a midget car show at the Cone and Shake lot on Pike Street around 7 p.m. Saturday,” he said.

The Salvation Army Boys and Girls Club of Washington County tailgate party and bike giveaway with former Cleveland Browns players, planned for the front of the armory lawn, was cancelled Friday due to concerns over the weather.

Some of the players had dinner with Boys and Girls Club members and the local River Rats Browns Backers Chapter 37 at the Marietta Brewery Friday evening.

Club Executive Director Andie Hannon said the bike giveaway will take place June 15 at the Mayor’s Third Friday Jubilee concert on the armory lawn.

The tailgating party, held in conjunction with the local Browns Backers group, is expected to be held during July’s Merchants and Artists Walk, Hannon said.

Several of the former Cleveland Browns players and coaches are in town today to play in a golf outing at Arrowhead Pines in Beverly. The event will raise money for the local Boys and Girls Club.

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