NORWAY — Saturday morning’s soaking rain was too much for some of the exhibitors at the Norway Arts Festival, especially when a downpour at about 9:30 sent many scurrying to put their artwork under cover and others to pack up and leave.

But the event wasn’t a washout, said Aranka Matolcsy, visual arts director for the sidewalk art sale.

“About half of them are still here,” she said shortly after noon. Nearly 100 exhibitors had set up for the 43rd annual festival on Main Street, which was closed to traffic for the first time this year.

“We’ve got some wonderful veterans who are going to hunker down and stick it out,” Matolcsy said. “These exhibitors are real troupers.”

“We did all of the jury awards and gave out $3,000,” she said. “This is one of the reasons we pushed so hard to have it. It’s critical for the artists to be recognized.”

“Our visitors should be given credit for coming, too,” she added. While some people tried to stay dry with rain gear, umbrellas, and giant body-size garbage bags, others walked around uncovered, letting the warm rain soak their faces, hair and clothes. Many wore flip-flops or abandoned their shoes altogether.

Photographers Ann and Bob Hutchins, of Maine Made Photos, were among those who opted to stick out the day. They realized it would be impossible to move the festival to another weekend. Like many artists, they plan to be at shows nearly every weekend this summer, including next weekend, when they will be at the Yarmouth Clam Festival.

Until recently, they lived in Harpswell, where they have photographed Maine’s only cribstone bridge, connecting Orrs and Bailey Islands. They use Sony cameras and Zeiss lenses.

Pointing to a photograph of the well-known granite stone bridge, Bob Hutchins said, “We wouldn’t get this type of clarity if we didn’t use Zeiss lenses.”

One of the few artists who didn’t have to worry about the weather was well-known painter Duncan Slade, whose studio is right on Main Street.

Slade, 92, still paints every day, welcomes visitors with great enthusiasm and relishes the chance to talk about art. Last year, he won Best of Show.

His paintings of classic, small Maine towns, including Norway, and people in everyday activities have earned him a Rockwell-esque reputation. A calendar with these glimpses of Maine life was on sale at the festival.

Recently, he has been trying some new techniques.

Pointing to a painting of trees with different shades of green foliage, he said, “I did that one with crumpled-up newspaper – your newspaper, as a matter of fact,” he told a reporter.

Most of the activities, including music, dance and poetry, continued, but the auction was postponed until Aug. 14 at Moore Park in South Paris, Matolcsy said.

Andrea Burns, president of the Board of Directors of Norway Downtown, said the dance on Friday night was “a phenomenal success.” The four-day festival is co-sponsored by Norway Downtown and the Western Maine Art Group.

Norway Arts Festival awards

— Best of Show, painting: Terry O’Maley, Troy;

— Painting, 2nd place: Julieanne Reed, Mexico;

— Painting, 3rd Place: Heather Westleigh and Dan Rennie, Bridgton;

— Best of Show, photography: Debra Wentworth, Waterford;

— Best of Show, 3-D: Andrea and Joe Ford, Cabin Pottery, Edgecomb;

— Best of Show, fiber art: Grace Handwoven Design, Rumford;

— Best of Show, jewelry: Elizabeth Stephany, Carrabassett Valley;

— Oxford Hills Chamber Directors Choice Award: Ellen O’Neill, Bridgton;

— Norway Savings Bank Purchase Awards: Barbara Traficonte, Waterford;

— Sarah Merritt Memorial Award: Barbara Traficonte, Waterford;

— Lajos Matolcsy Memorial Award: Erica Carson, South Paris;

— Mainley Properties Purchase Award: June Dragoon, Peru.

The judges were Troy Jordan, Nancy Marcotte and Mark Silber.


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