Art in the Park: Frederick’s Festival of the Arts

Celebrating 23 years, the Frederick Festival of the Arts, presented by the Frederick Arts Council, is held along Carroll Creek Linear Park in the heart of Historic downtown Frederick, MD. The artists at the arts festival showed in a variety of mediums, including wood, fiber, metal, clay, and leather, and featured an elegant mix of jewelry, photography, paintings, and sculpture.

Paige Hirsch offers both incredible artwork and interesting jewelry reflecting her paintings.

The Festival of the Arts rose out of the “Art in the Park” festivals Mom would drag her two whiney daughters to after church in the 1970s. Now, fine artists line both banks of downtown Carroll Creek, offering everything from gorgeous scarves and ties to thought-provoking sculpture and photography. It offered a great excuse to spend a day with my mom, browsing the booths and chatting with the artists, and just enjoying the amazing change that has come to Carroll Creek since my childhood.

MEME Handcrafted Artisan Jewelry was a popular booth at the Arts Festival. Part of the fun of the festival is
getting to chat with the creators of the lovely things we bought!

When I grew up in Frederick in the 70s and very early 80s, Carroll Creek was a sad little stream flowing through the heart of Frederick that flooded frequently enough to be a bit of a hassle for those living near it. It wasn’t the center piece of Baker Park, through which it ran, and it was pretty much ignored beside Culler Lake, a gathering place in Frederick (we lived just a block away).

One of the booths that attracted a crowd was one in
which you could dye your own silk scarves

Downtown Frederick was devastated by Carroll Creek flooding in both 1972 (Hurricane Agnes) and again in 1976. With millions in property losses, several dozen buildings were left vacant or underused.

But the City of Frederick has since developed a plan for Carroll Creek to provide flood control, and in 1991, the City enthusiastically adopted the final Carroll Creek Master Plan – an exciting vision for the development of Carroll Creek Park, which is still used today.  Led by the Carroll Creek Commission, the design called for a creekside park through historic downtown Frederick.

The park plan called for commercial, residential, cultural, and recreational development. A core part of the plan was to attract new development into downtown. Now, the Carroll Creek Linear Park is an engineering marvel, designed to rest on top of massive box concrete culverts that form the flood control project.  Like a zipper, the park ties the northern and southern banks of Carroll Creek and downtown together, with fountains, walkways, and bridges both physically and aesthetically connecting the two sides.

Festival sponsors include Frederick Magazine, Hood College, LeafFilter North of Maryland, Inc., Orases, Anthony Owens Remodeling and Repair, and Lancaster Craftsmen Builders.

On U Jewelry offers an “eco-chic” line of handcrafted jewelry that is created by hand, with glass,
semi-precious and vintage findings.

Know before you go: There are more than 5,000 public parking spaces available in historic downtown Frederick with five parking decks from which to simply walk to the festival site. The Downtown Frederick Partnership provides a comprehensive transportation and parking guide, with maps, here.

Getting there: The Frederick Festival of the Arts is held along Carroll Creek Linear Park between Court Street and East Street. If traveling, please set GPS to: 100 South East Street, Frederick, MD 21701.

Hours: The Frederick Festival of the Arts is held each year in early June. This year, it was held 3, 4, and 5 June.


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