HARRISVILLE - Hundreds of craftsmen from around the country will set up shop on the Alcona County Courthouse lawn next weekend for the Harrisville Arts Council's annual Harmony Weekend Art and Crafts Show, which celebrates the 50th anniversary of barbershop singing in Harrisville this year.
Starting at 9 a.m. Saturday the tents of some 300 vendors will sell assorted paintings, pottery, jewelery, tools, clothing, textiles, sculptures, toys, ornaments, and goods of all kinds, as well as snacks and refreshments, while barbershop quartets, Sweet Adelines and local musicians entertain the crowd with live music. Harrisville Arts Council member Ilona Breitmeyer, who has been involved with the event for 35 years, said the now famous craft show was once secondary to what started as an annual gathering of barbershop singers.
"It was 50 years ago that four men came to Harrisville and fell in love with it and started singing, and it just grew into what it is today. Barbershoppers would come up, spend a week or two with families at the state park and get together and go around town and sing, and they've been coming here for 50 years," she said. "The art show was added in 1974, and that started out quite small but it has grown huge to about 500 booths for a long time, and then with the economy and everything it has shrunk a little bit to around 300."
The vendors come from Michigan, Arizona, California, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, New York, South Carolina, Texas and Wisconsin, and the singers from at least as far. Harrisville Arts Council Treasurer Kathy Baird said this year's 50th annual Concert in the Park at Harrisville Harbor will host international talent as well.
"This concert is going to be special," she said. "We're putting up a big tent at the harbor for it. I know there's a group coming from England, and they're coming from all over the United States for it, so that's a little different."
Breitmeyer said the concert, which starts at 7 p.m. Saturday and accompanies a silent auction of locally decorated wooden chairs to raise money for the singers, will have enough award-winning performers to fill three hours.
"There's world-class entertainment. There's international winners, national winners, state winners from all over the country," she said.
The event continues with more music on the hill at 9:30 a.m. Sunday until the annual "Old Fashioned Parade" down Main Street at 1 p.m. Sunday with floats, cars, campaigners, barbershoppers, Shriners, Miss Sunrise Side, and other Harmony Weekend patrons.
For more information, visit harrisvilleartscouncil.com.
Andrew Westrope can be reached via e-mail at email@example.com or by phone at 358-5693.