Art and excitement collide at Festival of the Senses

By: Nick Mordowanec | Fraser - Clinton Township Chronicle | Published October 2, 2013

 Asher Oginsky, of Sterling Heights, bangs on a snare drum at Charity Music’s booth on Sept. 22 at this year’s Festival of the Senses in Clinton Township.

Asher Oginsky, of Sterling Heights, bangs on a snare drum at Charity Music’s booth on Sept. 22 at this year’s Festival of the Senses in Clinton Township.

Photos by Sean Work

CLINTON TOWNSHIP — Mary Ann Hosey called the 2013 edition of the Festival of the Senses “a smashing success.”

Hosey, the event’s chairperson, said that there were easily 6,000 people who attended the Sept. 21-22 festival, which brought art and entertainment to Clinton Township’s Civic Center. The eclectic amount of options for festival-goers — art stands, child and adult entertainment, food vendors, a vintage baseball game, etc. — presented an array of activities that people of all ages could enjoy.

There was a tent with Detroit Area Woodturners, where woodworkers made items on the fly for people of all ages. Rosco the Clown was making balloon animals for the young crowd. A rendition of the Blues Brothers was performed on stage. And the smells emanating from the food tent were almost intoxicating.

“Everybody that came seemed to be enjoying themselves, from the children with their activities to the shoppers,” Hosey said. “It was everything and more. It’s nice to see people have fun in their own community.”

The event was about the people more than anything.

Ron Cracchiolo is a Clinton Township resident who had his own tent displaying his homemade fishing lures. He uses basswood, cedar wood and other exotic woods to create the lures under the name Blue Water Bait Co. It’s a hobby of his that he has done for more than 25 years in his basement, and he has progressively gotten better.

“I started basic and got more advanced over the years — started adding on and doing other things like wine stoppers,” Cracchiolo said.

He has been attending the festival for six or seven years.

There was a tent full of what looked like vinyl records, but upon further inspection, the records were cut in a unique way. And there were hands of time.

“I wanted to take this and make it bigger,” said Rich Fidler, a retiree who owns Vinyl Surfari, as he held up a 45 rpm adapter.

Fidler is a former bass player who, along with his wife, has attended the festival three times.

“I wanted a 45 adapter in a larger size that I could put on a wall, and once I did that I said, ‘Wait a minute. I can put a clock in there.’ Then I said, ‘Woah, wait a minute. I can take a Beatles record and put it in the frame.’”

Fidler cuts the records himself, most of which are throwbacks to the classic rock era of the ’60s and ’70s. “We enjoy being in music,” he said. He added that most people ask for clocks made from Beatles albums.

There was kids’ author David Anthony, who along with a friend and fellow father, created a series of superhero and scare books for children. The duo has now written 24 books together and are constantly presentating at schools around Michigan.

“My buddy and I were both dads,” Anthony said. “He has a daughter, and I have three sons. We started writing the books for our kids. They were making a lot of noise upstairs; we were down in the basement — the man cave. We thought, ‘What would shut those kids up? Whoa, let’s write them a book!’ So our first book stars our two kids — his daughter and my oldest son.”

And on the instrumental side of things were Port Huron residents Pat Francisconi and Patty Simmons, who played guitar-laden tunes in the shade. They have played together for seven years, mostly rehashing classic songs or playing their own coffee-house style creations.

“It’s great. The people … the staff is so nice and organized,” Francisconi said. “We heard about the festival and thought we would check this out and were invited the next year.”

From the 97 dogs entered in the Dog Parade — which kicked off the festivities on Saturday morning — to the amount of visitors who came and enjoyed themselves, it’s safe to say the festival was a hit.

“I had a lot of people compliment us on the kind of event it is,” Hosey said. “It went pretty flawlessly. It’s kind of the nice thing that our festival does: it has to do with the kids and the senses.

“My committee did a bang-up job, and it’s not something you can pull off on your own. They’re the best, and I couldn’t do it without them.”