Yarn bombing! Live music! Orignal works of art! That is just what went down this weekend in Wilcox Park. Every spring during Memorial Day weekend in Westerly the time-honored tradition of the Virtu Art Festival is hosted by the Greater Westerly-Pawcatuck Area Chamber of Commerce.
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For two whole days every May, Wilcox Park comes alive with creativity as a showcase of local artists, vendors, and entertainers from all over New England and beyond gather together to display and show off their talents. Tents lined the walkways of Wilcox Park as sellers offered items for sale that included hand-made furniture, jewelry, garden ornaments, hand-made clothing, blown glass, photographs, watercolor and oil paintings, repurposed items, caricatures, and more. One of these tents featured Watch Hill Designs, a boutique in Westerly owned by Sherry Pierce that offers services to clients to reflect their unique tastes and personalities.
Live music was plentiful and provided by Bethany McGill, Yarina, and Serge Novikov. Scottish bag-piper, Christian Peterson, strolled the event in his traditional Scottish attire. Kiefer’s Martial Arts of Westerly presented a lively demonstration by their students that exhibited their talents set to the tune of upbeat and funky music.
For the first time in 18 years since the birth of the Virtu Art Festival, the trees of Wilcox Park were yarn bombed. With the help of more than 25 artists, a Kaleidoscope Tree exhibit featured 20 trees throughout the park wrapped in unique hand-knitted pieces, such as an octopus and nautical-themed wrap. Also, a popular favorite stop for children was the Creation Station where visitors could make their own works of art to take home.
The event had a great turnout as admission was free and the weather was sunny and warm. Patrons were sprinkled everywhere in small clusters as they stopped to catch up with old friends. Some visitors congregated around the fountain as their dogs cooled off in the fountain.
Convenient to downtown, any event in Wilcox Park always draws a strong sense of community as people have the opportunity to reunite and enjoy a day a fun.
In addition to the Virtu Art Festival, Wilcox Park is host to a slew of events through the year including an egg-hunt for children around Easter season, and a Teddy Bear Picnic in mid-spring. The summer-time brings a grand concert, the Summer Pops, by the Chorus of Westerly, and Shakespeare in the Park by the Colonial Theater.
Throughout the summer, there will be movies in the park, free events for families to enjoy in the evening hours. The park is a popular favorite of local photographers for backdrops for engagement or family sessions.
Whether you are looking for an exciting event, a place to curl up and read a book, enjoy a picnic, or enjoy an evening stroll, Wilcox Park has something to offer for everyone.