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Big H set to return for third year

Date: 9/8/2009

By Courtney Llewellyn

Reminder Assistant Editor

HAMPDEN -- What sets the Big H apart from the myriad other art festivals?

"All the artists must be from Hampden. It's about supporting local artists," Patricia Pomeroy of the Hampden Art Guild explained. "It's not juried, and we don't do it to make money. We just want to show the arts in our community and our schools."

Later this month, the third annual Big H Arts Festival will return to Main Street, featuring everything from elementary school sketchers to adult sculptors to senior painters. The two-day festival will also feature food, music and history.

"We keep having more and more people want to join us," Pomeroy said. This year, the Recreation Association of Hampden (RAH) and Boy and Girl Scouts will participate by offering demonstrations of the various activities in which they participate.

Also new this year: the Federated Community Church will be hosting a craft fair.

Pomeroy said the festival is geared toward the whole family, with things like sidewalk art and a balloon artist especially set up for children.

Erica Dwyer, who spins and weaves her own wool, said she believes it's good to show people who aren't educated in the fiber industry where their clothing comes from.

"Cloth doesn't just come off a shelf in Wal-Mart," she stated. "Cloth has to come from somewhere. It's good to show children something like this."

Dwyer lives on a farm called Hampden Hills Alpacas, and has been raising alpacas since 2000. She spun wool at last year's Big H; this year, she will provide a weaving demonstration.

"More people spin their own wool than you think," she said. "The market is growing ... especially in New England."

The Big H continues to grow as well. Pomeroy said the Hampden Art Guild is starting to accumulate some funds from the festival and that they plan on awarding an arts scholarship at the end of the 2009-10 school year.

"It's important to promote art and keep it in the community," she said.

The Hampden Art Guild began as the Hampden Scantic River Artists over 20 years ago. The group has exhibited at the First Church Gallery in Springfield, the Little Red School House in East Longmeadow, the Wilbraham Public Library and local businesses in Hampden.

The Big H was started in 2007.

Schedule of Events for The Big H

The festival is taking place Sept. 19 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Sept. 20 from noon to 4 p.m.

Being offered both days:

• Hampden Art Guild show and sale at Academy Hall

• Students to Seniors Art Work: Town Hall

• Reading Inspired Art Work Show: Library

• Goosebumps Writers Club: Academy Hall

• Hampden Garden Club Floral Arrangements: Academy Hall

• Library Trustee Tea: 2 to 4 p.m. and book sale all day: Town Hall

• Historical Society Museum

• Parks and Recreation Department, RAH, Scouts, Ashedesign and PTO will have a booth at Town Hall to promote their activities. At 5 p.m. on Saturday, they will have a hot dog roast at the Splash Park

Demonstrations at Academy Hall on Sept. 19:

• Wood carving by Rosanna Coyne

• Wool spinning and weaving by Erica Dwyer

• Oil painting by Patricia Pomeroy

• Wood duck carving by Bruce Jackson (Town Hall)

• Next Step Dance Studio Student Performance (Town Hall at 11 a.m.)

Music at Town Hall (Saturday only):

• 11 a.m.: Dick Chase -- Irish music

• Noon: Roger Tinknel -- Music for all ages

• 1:15 p.m.: Podunk Ramblers -- bluegrass

• 2:30 p.m.: Dana Vicalvi & Friends rock 'n' roll

At the Federated Community Church:

• Sept. 19, 8 - 10:30 a.m.: Pancake breakfast

• 10 a.m. - 2 p.m.: Bake sale (both days)

• 11 a.m. - 3 p.m.: Lobster roll lunch with Izzy's Cheesecake, fish chowdah, Lions Club dogs and burgers (both days)

• Sept. 19, 3:30 - 4:30 p.m.: Musical concert in the sanctuary

• Sept. 19, 5 - 6:30 p.m.: Chicken dinner (call 566-3711 for reservations by Sept. 17)

• Sept. 19, 8 a.m. - 3 p.m.: Craft show

• Sept. 20, 11 a.m. - 3 p.m.: Craft show

Demonstrations on Sept. 20:

• Print making by Dorothy Fritts (Town Hall)

• Collage art by Clair Doyle (Town Hall)

• Floral arrangements for adults and kids by Ginny Blake (Academy Hall)

• Reading from "Library Cat" by Carla Grant

Parking will be available at the Federated Community Church and Green Meadows School. For more information, visit