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September 1, 2013

Residents feel Westmont Log House Arts Festival is like 'coming home'

— Ligonier native Kimberly Kirkpatrick really felt like she was coming home Saturday at the Log House Arts Festival in Westmont.

Surrounded by her colorful array of clothing, scarves and accessories, the Matthews, Va., woman remembered displaying her creations in the same venue 20 years ago.

“This is my first time back,” Kirkpatrick said. “I don’t see a big difference. It has always been a very pleasant show to do with the music in the background and the atmosphere.”

The familiarity is not surprising. The Community Arts Center of Cambria County prides itself on offering the latest in crafts, but the festival’s overall setup has remained unchanged for many years. It has been a proven venue for 43 years.

“We don’t have any room to make changes,” center Executive Director Rose Mary Hagadus said. “Space is a big problem for us. We have nowhere to grow.”

Kirkpatrick is among 100 juried craftsmen displaying and selling their artistic work in the idyllic grounds surrounding the arts center at 1217 Menoher Blvd. in Westmont.

There is also food, music and children’s activities at the arts center’s largest fundraiser.

Log House Arts Festival supports a broad range of programs and events through the region’s oldest artistic organization, Hagadus said.

The Log House gallery exhibits creations from a variety of sources. The current exhibit features works by those children who participated in the center’s summer arts camps. A Greater Johnstown Camera Club exhibit will open in October.

There are also workshops, classes, lectures and special events.

“Our mission is to support the arts, whether visual, music or whatever,” Hagadus said. “We have been around for 45 years. It is a long time to survive with an arts group.”

The festival continues today with music by D’Verse and Dead Irish Blues.

Randy Griffith is a reporter for The Tribune-Democrat. Follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/photogriffer57.

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