CliftonFest unites artisans with community

This year’s annual CliftonFest will feature 41 artisan booths, 36 carpet artists, a variety of musicians and performers, and Ludlow Avenue businesses. Hosted by the Clifton community and Uptown Consortium, the free festival begins at 6 p.m. Sept. 26 and ends on 6 p.m. Sept. 28.
 
“When IGA closed, we lost a major magnet for people in the Clifton business district, and the business association felt something needed to happen to bolster the energy,” says Jan Brown Checco, president of CliftonFest.
 
CliftonFest, the rebirth of a sidewalk sale event from the ‘80s, is a way to remind the neighborhood of working artists in the community, and to help boost the businesses along the Ludlow Avenue corridor.
 
“The focus is really on relationships and getting people together,” Brown Checco says.
 
During CliftonFest, Ludlow is closed from Clifton Avenue to Middleton Avenue, and all businesses on the street level are open. Artists line the street selling their crafts, and professional street chalk artists work along the curb on both sides of the street to create ArtCarpets. There will also be a biergarten featuring craft beer from Rivertown.
 
“A special process is used for the ArtCarpets, which allows the artwork to stay for a minimum of three months,” Brown Checco says. “It creates a splash during the weekend of CliftonFest, but people can still come and see them for a few months afterward.”
 
Friday night’s events will occur with Ludlow’s normal traffic pattern. “Wine and Jazz” on Clifton Plaza will feature Wade Baker Collective from 6 to 11 p.m., and an artist’s reception for Scott Donaldson, who painted the new Clifton Plaza Mural, will take place from 6 to 9 p.m. at Om Eco Café, where over a dozen of his portraits will be on display.
 
On Saturday, children can enjoy musicians, puppeteers, circus magicians, CCM students, games, interactive crafts and refreshments at Diggs Plaza at Burnet Woods. There will also be a showing of Mary Poppins at the Esquire Theatre and “Story Hour on Clifton Plaza” at the library, both beginning at 10 a.m.
 
Sunday’s events will kick off with a 10 a.m. yoga session featuring Ron Esposito, and a 5K run in Burnet Woods. The Pet Parade will begin at 1 p.m., and the dedication of the new mural will be at 4 p.m.
 
Musicians throughout the weekend include Tracy Walker, Baoku Afrobeat, Mayan Ruins, Robin Lacey and DeZydeco, Pones Inc., Acarya, Cliftones, Part-time Gentlemen, Jump n’ Jive Swing Band, MUSE, Zumba, CCM Jazz Combo and Brooke Salem Krewe.

Read more articles by Caitlin Koenig.

Caitlin Koenig is a Cincinnati transplant and 2012 grad of the School of Journalism at the University of Missouri. She's the department editor for Soapbox Media and currently lives in Northside with her husband, Andrew, and their three furry children. Follow Caitlin on Twitter at @caite_13.  
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