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Allentown Art Festival going strong in 60th year

Festival season comes on fast in Buffalo.

One moment you're shoveling your sidewalk; the next you're slathering on the 50 SPF. That's what the Allentown Art Festival, which runs June 10 and 11, feels like for most of us: Sudden summer, with a side of fried dough.

This year, the festival that began as a pint-sized marketing event for Allentown businesses, celebrates its 60th year. And despite the death last year of its longtime president and champion Mary Myszkiewicz, this festival is nowhere near retirement age.

For much of that time, the shoulder-to-shoulder affair has reigned as Buffalo's largest and most beloved festival. This year, several hundred exhibitors from across North America will showcase their wares inside white tents stretching along Delaware Avenue from North Street to Tupper Street, and many side streets as well. There are prints from Phoenix, sculptures of songbirds from Sarasota, Fla., graphic art from Glenville and mixed-media from Millington, Minn. The central appeal of the festival  is in navigating its tremendous range, from the impossibly kitschy (bejeweled lawn ornaments) to the exquisitely crafted (delicate pottery and meticulous woodwork).

As usual, the concurrent but separately organized Allen West Festival -- grittier and more local in tone -- runs along Allen Street from Elmwood Avenue to Wadsworth Street.

The Allentown Art Festival runs from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. June 10 and 11 in and around Allentown. Visit allentownartfestival.com or call 881-4269.

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