Hank Schlau, of Natchez, Miss., worked meticulously to cut away tiny pieces of damp clay from a pendant of St. Gerard Majella he was creating Saturday.
As people walked in and out of the booth he had set up in downtown Baton Rouge during the FestForAll 2012 Art and Music Festival, Schlau occasionally would look up from his magnifiers to answer shoppers’ questions.
“He is the patron saint of pregnant women, or those who want to be pregnant,” Schlau said of St. Majella.
Schlau, who owns and operates In the Company of Saints Inc., said he sold items at FestForAll two years ago, but that this year’s festival just wasn’t as large.
“I think it’s just the heat,” Schlau said, referring to the event’s smaller crowd, as he stayed inside a tent to keep away from the sunlight.
“I think they’re going to come later (tonight),” Schlau said. Although the crowds were thinner than in past years, Schlau said, business at the fest was good Saturday. “It’s a good crowd and hearty souls.”
Schlau, who creates statues and medals of religious saints, was just one of the more than 90 vendors who showed up to sell their wares at the two-day fest.
Presented by the Arts Council of Greater Baton Rouge, FestForAll features everything from paintings and jewelry to furniture and printmaking.
The free event also offers music, a children’s village, performing arts, a variety of food, contests, children’s art activities, art demonstrations and street entertainers, organizers said.
“It seems like there is not quite as many people here (this year), but it’s much more organized,” said Kim Ziegler, of Gonzales.
“There’s tons of arts and crafts,” Ziegler said. “This is a great way to do something free with entertainment that is so close to home.”
Meryl Fairchild, of St. Gabriel, who came to the festival with her daughter, who was selling both woodwork and glassware, said she thought the music drew more people to the festival than the artwork.
“If the heat wasn’t here, it would be pretty good,” Fairchild said.
Janice Eby and Veronica Taylor, both of Baton Rouge, took in the sounds of rock artist Eric Lindell.
“It has expanded,” Taylor said of the festival as she compared it to ones held in past years. “It’s nice and crowded.”
“It’s just so hot out here,” Taylor said. “They need more shade.”
For Eby and Taylor, one of the best features of the festival was the food — a ribeye sandwich — to be exact.
David Calhoun, of Texas Custom Catering, Lufkin, Texas, had prepared the sandwich, along with servings of turkey legs, sausage on a stick, barbecue sandwiches, chicken on a stick and sirloin on a stick.
But business for the barbecue expert from Texas hadn’t been booming as of 4 p.m. Saturday.
“We’ve done this (the festival) for about eight years, and we haven’t done that good yet today,” Calhoun said.
“We’re still hopeful.”
Calhoun said he hoped that Saturday evening and Sunday would bring more people and more business to their stand.
FestForAll is open from noon to 6 p.m. Sunday in downtown Baton Rouge.
In addition to the arts and crafts, music will be featured throughout the day on two stages:
For more information about the festival logon http://www.artsbr.org/fest-for-all.html.
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