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The Media Food & Crafts Festival: A Feast for All Five Senses

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La LocandaMedia Food & Crafts Festival

Sunday, October 4, 2009

10 a.m. – 5 p.m.

State Street, between Monroe and Orange Streets, in Media, Pa.

 

You know that feeling when you just can’t figure out what you want to eat, and you’re not satisfied with any of your options? Well, head on over to Media this Sunday and you shouldn’t have that problem at all. The 29th annual Media Food & Crafts Festival, October 4th from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., features tasty flavors for your eyes, ears, nose, and mouth. Each year, more than 8,000 visitors amble along six blocks of State Street—sampling street food and fine dining fare, browsing and buying unique handmade crafts, and bopping along to live music.

From Cajun to Greek, Italian to Thai, more than 40 restaurants from throughout the tri-state area will be lined up on State Street, vying for the opportunity to tickle your taste buds. Of course the Festival showcases nearly all of Media’s best places to eat—like Azie, an upscale Japanese restaurant with global flavors; La Belle Epoque, a stylish French wine bistro; and Sligo, a comfortable Irish pub. Since Media is “America’s first fair trade town,” you can also be sure to look out for local restaurants offering fair trade products and items.

If –somehow- you’re not satisfied by State Street’s local fare, you’re sure to find something tasty at the Food & Craft Festival, which is the only Media event that also invites restaurants from outside the borough to participate.

“We want to showcase the restaurants from Media,” explains Zubair Khan, Executive Director of the Media Business Authority and organizer of the Festival. “We also try to bring in different types of restaurants where people might not have the chance to go.”

This year, there are restaurants from throughout Delaware and Chester counties, as well as from neighboring states New Jersey and Delaware. La Locanda, of Edgemont, Pa., brings contemporary Italian to the Festival and The Big Easy, of Paoli, Pa., will be representing New Orleans-style with a menu of full Cajun flavors.

Fire red Tiara by Rebecca DixonAs the name would suggest, the Food & Crafts Festival isn’t just about food. In addition to mouth-watering munchies, State Street will feature a feast of fine arts and handmade crafts. The juried exhibition showcases the work of at least 60 artists and artisans, including handmade jewelry and purses, African art, bonsai, metal work, paintings, photography, pottery, holiday decorations, sand art, and crafts for kids, among others. According to Mr. Khan, the Media Business Authority strives for high quality, upscale work when selecting artists. “We don’t want to bring in flea market items that would undersell the local stores with cheap commercial products,” he says. For shoppers, strollers, and art lovers, this means a street-full of unique finds.

Take Rebecca Dixon’s wearable art, for instance. Ms. Dixon, of Folsom, Pa., makes fairy wings, masquerade masks, crochet wire jewelry, and bejeweled crowns and tiaras; she as created custom pieces for party costumes, weddings, and theatre companies. As a returning artist, Ms. Dixon is glad for the opportunity to support her local community. “The town of Media is very active in the arts, and sponsors many events throughout the year to promote cultural awareness and provide outlets for artists to show their work,” she says. “I am thrilled to be so near a thriving artistic community.”

Rebecca Michelle Lee, another local artist, is participating in the Media Food & Crafts Festival for the first time this year. “This is my hometown, so I love to participate in as many community events in Media as possible,” she says. Ms. Lee, a registered artist of the Media Arts Council, creates acrylic and watercolor paintings, framed photographs, archival art prints, art trading cards, and miniature “upcycled” bottle cap sculpture “Venus Fly Traps.” She has been exhibiting her work professionally, throughout Media, for about a year and is excited to be part of this year’s Festival.

“I personally prefer outdoor art festivals,” Ms. Lee says, “It seems to be much more fun for the visitors, especially the children.”

The Media Food & Crafts Festival is a family affair indeed. The kiddos will be thrilled by the amusements erected in Veterans Square, including a moon bounce, slides, and games. And with three outdoor stages and four bands, the streets will be abuzz with blues, jazz, Dixieland music, and classic party tunes. Local favorites, Johnny B and Irving Street Blues return for their fourth Festival performance, along with Philadelphia Dixieland Sound, the Philly Horn Band, and Leroy Hawkes and the Hipnotics. Doug DiFilippo, drummer for Irving Street Blues, says the band looks forward to the atmosphere and the crowd. “It’s a day where everyone can get together and have a good time,” he says. “Before and after each set, we enjoy the various foods and crafts that are all along state street. You will always find something you like, which makes it that much better.”

Supposing you like poetry, too? Well, if you’re willing to stray a few blocks from State Street, you’ll find the Mad Poets Festival at Media Borough Hall. Since 1987, the Mad Poets Society has organized its annual festival, featuring 40 emerging and established poets, in conjunction with the Media Food & Crafts Festival.

Admission to the Media Food & Crafts Festival is free. Visitors are encouraged to bring canned goods, which will be donated to the Chester Eastside Ministries.