MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – Main Street Morgantown held an Arts Walk on Saturday afternoon, June 12, which saw dozens of vendors selling everything from crafts to clothing to hundreds of passersby.
The event was held downtown on High St. and had a good portion of the street closed off to cars so people could walk freely. Stephanie Swaim, Main Street Morgantown’s Promotions Committee chair and the owner of Hoot and Howl, an artisan gift shop, said this was the third Arts Walk of the year and she was excited about the turnout.
“It’s fantastic,” she said. “We’re really excited to have everybody out to celebrate all of the June things. “We’re celebrating West Virginia’s birthday. We’re celebrating Pride Month. We’re celebrating Juneteenth. We’re celebrating the 100 years of the bond building being there, which is pretty cool, too. So, it’s really nice to see everybody out, the community supporting all the artists and all of our food vendors and all of our businesses.”
One of the vendors was Katie Okubo, owner of Knockout Workshop, which sells craft jewelry. She, like Swaim, said she was excited to see everyone outside and enjoying the hot and beautiful weather.
“It’s so great just to feel the energy back and everybody being able to just interact with each other and still feel safe,” Okubo said. ” They ask us all his vendors to still wear mask and that sort of thing, which I think is a great idea just to make sure everybody feeling safe and feeling good. And it’s just been so upbeat and everything. It’s great to get kind of back in the swing of things. And I think this is a great way to get everybody used to it again.”
Main Street Morgantown, Okubo said, went “above and beyond” to make the day possible and organizers even walked around to check on the vendors throughout the event. For that, she said she was appreciative.
Saturday’s event was the third of the year. Swaim said every single one has been busier than the last, in part, due to Main Street promoting the Arts Walk on social media and also because the weather is getting nicer.
There have been more businesses, musicians and people participating, which makes her and fellow organizers very happy, she said.
“It’s humbling and amazing, Swaim said. “Yeah, it’s just so exciting to see everybody out. You know, we have people that come into town just for this. We have people that haven’t been out anywhere else yet, and they’re coming to these events so it’s really exciting to see everybody. And, you know, people are more comfortable now that a lot of people have been vaccinated, if they chose to be so, it’s really cool to see all that and kind of almost be normal again.”
There will be more Arts Walks later in the year, Swaim said, and the public can keep up to date with what Main Street is doing via its Facebook and Instagram accounts.
Okubo said, Saturday’s event was not her first Arts Walk and it, certainly, won’t be her last. She encouraged everyone who can to participate and join the excitement.
“I think that anybody that’s a creative out there, an artist, even if you’re a singer, or, you know, musician, you should get out here and try it,” Okubo said. “It’s a great, just a fun experience. Even if you’ve never done it before, it’s great to just get your toes in and check it out.”
You can also find Okubo on Instagram if you would like to connect with her and find out more about her craft jewelry business Knockout Workshop.