Heat no match for Hillside Festival

Published 7:18 pm Tuesday, May 2, 2017

By Melanie Ruberti



Kona Shaved Ice was a fan favorite on Saturday afternoon as the sun beat down on visitors during the 2017 Hillside Art, Music and Food Festival.

Though the temperature rose near the 90-degree mark, hundreds packed into the Hillside neighborhood for some shopping, food and entertainment.

Vendors, like Freita Browning, beat the heat by helping customers.

It was a steady crowd for Browning, who owns “Freita’s Fancies.” This was her third year participating in the Hillside festival.

“I like the music and comradery with the other vendors,” Browning explained. “You get to see a lot of people you haven’t seen in a long time – and they’re all local.”

Browning’s booth showcased a table full of baked goods that included jams, jellies and breads. She also displayed crocheted items and a rack full of children’s clothes she sewed herself.

Next door, the sun sparkled and danced off colorful stained glass artwork that hung on metal rods across the top of the tent. Every piece was designed and crafted by Linda Giles.

Linda’s husband, Tim, assisted shoppers with their purchases.

This was the couple’s second year at the event.

“It’s (festival) a little small, but we enjoy it,” said Tim. “The festival is very well organized. Business-wise, today (Saturday) has been good …”

“We’ve had a lot of ‘repeat’ business,” stated Tara Shimandle, co-owner of Weave Bin Twisted. “I’ve gotten a lot of feedback too. So many wonderful compliments.”

Tara and her mom, Judy, focus on creating wire wrapped and eco-friendly jewelry, hats, bath products and more.

“Everyone has been nice and serviceable. I’ve met a lot of good people,” said Tara. “I really like the (Hillside) community and what they’re doing to the area.”

The Hillside Art, Music and Food Festival is led by residents and business owners within the neighborhood. They continue to foster partnerships and growth within the community.

The event also highlights local talent. A stage was placed front and center on Jefferson Street. Bands and musicians entertained the crowd as they shopped and wandered through several art exhibits.

Area restaurants set up trucks along Jefferson Street and tantalized patrons with a variety of food and drinks.

Local farms showcased fresh produce on tables along Garfield Street.

This year, several fitness enthusiasts and wellness teams were on hand to promote healthy lifestyles.

The Kia DASH to Wellness 5K fun run kicked off the festival Saturday morning.

Melanie Ruberti is a reporter with LaGrange Daily News. She can be reached at 706-884-7311, ext. 2156.