"I'm very excited about our featured artist," says ESFOTA organizer Robin Schuttenberg. "She is a chain saw carver named Penny Towner. When she's not carving on logs with her chain saw she drives a big rig. She sometimes hauls salt for Cargill. She uses an air brush to put designs on big tractor trailers."
This year the festival will feature approximately 90 pieces by 30 artists. More three dimensional pieces are planned. Jerry Monaghan will show very large hanging and pedestal hanging sculptures made of tooth picks and found items. Monaghan is also creating an artists's catalog for the event.
"That's something that's different this year," Schuttenberg says. "It's not just a catalog with some advertising in it. Gerry has worked closely with (Town Historian) Louise Bement to make it a more collectable piece. He has tidbits from Lansing's history, stories about living in Ludlowville from the Town's historical archives, and a fun recipe called 'Ludlowville Grape Pie'."
Buddha Boards and Wicki Sticks will be provided for kids, as well as coloring pages and jigsaw puzzles made from tow of the artists' work. For adults and kids alike this year's festival will feature two stations for creating what Schuttenberg calls 'community art'.
"When you walk into the Town Hall there will be white paper bound in black. It will look like a blank canvas, ready for people to work on. There will be crayons and markers and stickers. We want people to decorate it themselves, then we're going to find a place to hang it for the remainder of the show. We're also doing community art in the library where we're asking people to make mini-masterpieces on sticky notes."
Schuttenberg and Lansing Community Library curator Linda VanApeldoorn and photographer Monroe Payne judged the entries. Schuttenberg says that in the future specialists will also be brought in to judge other forms of art such as textiles.
"We're trying to be more professional and even handed," Schuttenberg says. "Last year we had a little over 40 artists and in the past there have been as many as 120 pieces. This year we didn't take as much art from each artist. We're trying to be more selective."
Jazz duo 'Interlude' will provide music in the Town Hall. Harpist Lisa Craig Fenwick will be back in the library this year, and Doctor K will perform ukulele music in the Field School House. A historical exhibit will be open in the Town Archive building.
Crossroads will be back with hors d'oeuvres, joined by Rogue's Harbor Inn, cheese cake from Green Life Nutrition, treats from Cinnamon Shoppe and treats from Lansing Market including their half moon cookies.
Last year ESFOTA held an artists' market at the Lansing Farmer's Market the day after the opening. This year the festival is partnering with Triphammer Marketplace to participate in a May 11th artist's market there. Schuttenberg says there will be entertainment that day as well. About 30 artists will be represented including some from ESFOTA.
"We were fully funded this year with grants from the Community Arts Partnership and the Tompkins County Tourism program," Schuttenberg says. "The Lansing Community Council gave a donation and is sponsoring our chain saw carver, so they stepped up big-time for us this year."
Schuttenberg says she still needs volunteers on the night of the event, to help during the event, and with cleanup afterward.