“The best experience you can get is when someone says, ‘I bought your pottery last year, and I love this pottery. I use it everyday,’” he said. “You cannot get a better high than that.”
The local arts festival celebrated its 42nd year Sunday with 81 area artists setting up shop along the west end of Franklin Street. Wes Tilghman, festivals and special events supervisor for the town, said 15,000 people were expected to come out to Festifall this year.
Nesnow, who is also part of Festifall’s judging panel, said jurors try to bring a variety of artists to the event.
“You try to pick the most unique thing, but you try to pick a balance,” he said.
For some artists, events like Festifall make up the bulk of their business. Nesnow said compared to people at other festivals, Chapel Hill fairgoers tend to be more serious about buying art.
“People have a little more expendable cash,” he said. “They want to buy things that are beautiful that they can have in their house. And they can afford it.”
Shopping for art was only one of the activities available at Festifall. Fairgoers were kept entertained with performances from local musicians and dance groups.
The North Carolina LEGO User Group attended Festifall for the first time this year, showcasing large-scale LEGO models of the Old Well and Bell Tower as well as providing craft opportunities for kids.
Chapel Hill local Christa Cichowicz’s daughter played at the LEGO booth. Though her daughter enjoyed the children’s activities, Cichowicz said she also benefited from looking at art.
“There was a piece of art from one of the artists that looks a little bit like her art, so I said, ‘Well that looks kind of like the way you draw,’ and she agreed,” she said. “Exposing her to a lot of things is important to me.”
Rohan Smith, co-owner of Franklin Street clothing store Thrill City, kept the store open for extended hours Sunday.
“West Franklin is generally the deader part of Franklin Street,” he said. “Having an event definitely generates more buzz on this side of the street.”
Tilghman said Saturday’s home football game also helped attendance.
“Any time we have activities such as the UNC football program and activities on the University — even folks who attend the church services downtown on Sunday — it’s a way for us to invite all our stakeholders to be a part of the event,” he said.
Carrboro resident Veronica Stevens has been coming to Festifall since she moved to the area in 1995. She said her favorite part of Festifall is watching the performers.
“I’m glad Chapel Hill has something for us to come to. I just love it.”