Art & Apples Festival ranks among best in country

Annual event returns Sept. 6-8 to Rochester Municipal Park

By: Mary Beth Almond | Rochester Post | Published August 28, 2013

 Thousands visited Rochester Municipal Park for the Paint Creek Center for the Arts’ 47th annual Art & Apples Festival last year.

Thousands visited Rochester Municipal Park for the Paint Creek Center for the Arts’ 47th annual Art & Apples Festival last year.

File photo by Donna Agusti

ROCHESTER — The Art & Apples Festival — held next weekend — consistently is ranked in the top 30 art festivals of its kind in the nation by Sunshine Artist Magazine, out of a list of more than 2,000 that are reviewed. This year, the festival jumped up 14 spots from last year’s ranking and was the named 13th best in the country.

“That was pretty huge for us to get that ranking this year,” said Ellen Hughes, Paint Creek Center for the Arts’ marketing director. “The ranking is from the artists, so it’s based on how well they do and how they feel about the festival. For us, it’s a huge honor that the artists think so highly of our festival.”

The 48th annual Art and Apples Festival will be held 4-7:30 p.m. Sept. 6, 9 a.m.-7:30 p.m. Sept. 7 and 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Sept. 8 in Rochester Municipal Park, west of Main Street, north of University. Shuttles to Art & Apples are available at Rochester High School all day Saturday and Sunday.

Organizers said more than 290 of the finest artists from across the nation will tempt art enthusiasts with unique works in a variety of mediums, including textiles, paintings, glasswork, wood, pottery, jewelry, photography, sculpture and more.

“What’s really exciting this year is we do have a few more of our smaller categories than we’ve had in the past — we have more metalsmithers, more sculptors, and more glass artists — so we will have a better variety of artists,” said Festival Director Laura Bates.

As it’s a juried show, professional artists determine who makes it into the popular festival each year.

“What we’re really excited about is that over 25 percent of the artists are new to the festival. … That’s really great for us this year, to help us mix it up a little bit,” Hughes added.

After perusing the art, parents can let their children unwind at the popular — and free — Kids Art Zone, which offers make-and-take projects provided by the PCCA and the Detroit Institute of Arts, a lifesize art maze, giant inflatables, and the Oakland County Parks and Recreation Rock climbing wall.

Kids ages 12 and younger can also participate in the first-annual Healthy Kids Fun Run, sponsored by HealthPlus of Michigan, by gathering in Rochester Park at 8:30 a.m. Saturday and running the north loop of the festival. Parents are encouraged to run with their child, and everyone will get a healthy prize at the finish line. Pre-registration is available online or participants can register onsite the day of the event at 7:30 a.m.

“It’s just something that’s fun; it’s not a competitive thing. It’s a fun way for us to get kids involved in the morning before the festival opens,” Hughes added.

Nonstop live entertainment will be provided from 4 p.m. Friday through 3:45 p.m. Sunday, featuring Rochester-area high school bands, Adagio Dance Company, Chiladogs, Deborah’s Stage Door, Dymond Harding, Flint Jubilee Choral, Hubbell Street Jazz, Jennifer Kincer, MDM Dance Project, School of Rock, Second Street Studio of Dance and Swing Shift Orchestra, and many more.

The festival will also feature baking contests for the best apple pie and best apple dessert Saturday at 10:30 a.m. Festival attendees can help show support for the PCCA and other local nonprofits by purchasing food from one of three food courts. Twenty percent of the proceeds from food ticket sales goes back to the PCCA — the rest goes to the food vendors.

Those who attend the festival are asked to give a voluntary, but suggested, $5 donation upon entry. Because the PCCA’s mission is to serve the community at large, as well as the artistic community, the organization doesn’t take any commission from the sales that its exhibiting artists gain during the festival weekend. Instead, Hughes said, they ask those who attend the festival for a donation of $5 per person.

“This festival is how we manage to stay open as a nonprofit throughout the year. It keeps our lights on. It keeps our doors open. It’s our lifeline. Without the festival, we just couldn’t exist, so we treat it with that kind of respect internally … and we love doing it,” she explained.

Because the PCCA depends on other local nonprofits to help volunteer to take donations at festival entrance points, she said, the PCCA gives 5 percent of all of the donations to the nonprofits that volunteer to accept donations at the gates — including the Rochester Area Jaycees, the Rochester High School Band Boosters, Oakland University’s Student Michigan Education Association and Oakland University’s Dance Marathon.

Each year, more than 300 people volunteer their time to make sure the festival runs smoothly. The PCCA is still looking for volunteers to help with this year’s festival.

“With the hundreds of thousands of people that come walking through, all volunteer help is essential,” Hughes explained. “We will take all the help we can get.”

For more information or to volunteer, visit