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The South Shore Art Festival

by Linda Fechter {a guest Betty}

If it's June in Cohasset, it's time to start thinking art.  Summer will be kicked off the same way it has been for more than half a century {talk about tradition!} as the the Annual South Shore Arts Festival, hosted by the South Shore Art Center, comes to the Cohasset Common.

When Redhead Betty asked me to write about this “happening” I knew the pressure was on to keep my thoughts limited to just a few paragraphs.  There’s so much to see and do, and purchase...you should definitely allocate a few hours to do it properly. If you’re like most, you go more than once throughout the weekend just to make sure you haven’t missed anything.

You can begin by either getting a coveted parking space in or around Cohasset Center or make it easy on yourself by parking at the South Shore Music Circus and taking the free trolley to the Common or park and walk {it’s downhill-both ways}.   The $5 admission “donation” supports the South Shore Art Center, which is a bargain by anyone’s standards.  All proceeds go to support the Art Center.

The Annual South Shore Arts Festival is first and foremost about art.  If you know art then you will recognize the names of many well-known local artists: Roffo, Ahearn, Cummings, Collella, and Strekalovsky.  If you’re like me, not a connoisseur, all you need is an appreciation for talent and by the end of your visit you’ll most likely have your own local favorite.

I’ll start with the Kid’s Tent.  They can create their own art to bring home and also view the Young Artist’s exhibition. Your young ones might be inspired to enter their own paintings and photographs next year.  You might want to save your visit to this tent for the middle of your day so when the little ones get tired of strolling and shopping, they can cool off under the tent and have their face painted by Miss Patrice.  Patrice, an artist in her own right, is a favorite with those who attend the Cohasset Farmer’s Market.

There are so many little happenings under the “umbrella” of the big happenings of the weekend. {I won’t mention umbrella anymore--sunglasses and sunblock are hopefully all you’ll need to enjoy the Festival}.  If you’ve never been to the event, don’t let the name fool you--oils, pastels and acrylics are not the only mediums that will be offered to gaze at and purchase.  Yes, there is a juried art show, but  the event also includes three days of food, music, and vendors who come to sell everything from handmade jewelry and furniture, to clothing and items you didn’t even know you needed and couldn’t live without!  Just watching the tents set up on the Common days before fuels the anticipation of it all. 

I’ve waited way too many paragraphs to talk about the food...looking at all the art and shopping among the merchant’s tents builds up an appetite.  What would any festival be like without small mom and pop stands selling everything from Frozen Lemonade, hot dogs, panninis, Greek salads and gyros, to my personal favorite: Kettle corn.  In addition to all this there are two mainstays of the weekend, and they bring out a a little friendly competition that is kept under check by a higher power….drum roll please...I’m talking about The Lobster Rolls at the First Parish Unitarian Church v.s. the Strawberry Shortcakes at 2nd Congregational Church. 

Let’s start with the Lobster Rolls.  Festival weekend means lobster rolls – you have to experience them at least once. The all meat {no filler} lobster rolls, made on site, by the parishioners at the Unitarian Church, and for that you get a full lobster roll with nothing but a touch of mayo along with a bag of Cape Cod potato chips.  Go to the Meeting House {across from the church on the Common} during the weekend and purchase them.  This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it and guarantees this once a year treat for you and your family.  You might want to order a few extra…just saying.

Once you’re done with your lobster rolls, walk them off by continuing to shop the vendor’s tents.  Then walk directly across the Common for dessert...and I’m talking fantastic dessert.  2nd Congregational Church {next to Town Hall} has volunteers that make the best {and biggest} servings of strawberry shortcake you will ever eat.  I recommend one dessert with two spoons to share...then maybe another one with two more spoons at the end of the day.  Pacing yourself is important.  The proceeds from the shortcakes go to fund the Appalachian Service Project--so it’s all good.  really good.

Where you eat your lobster roll and shortcake is also part of the experience.  Find a spot in front of the stage and listen to the great variety of music that is played all weekend long.  Friday night through to Sunday at closing. 

The Arts Festival is rain or shine, Friday, Saturday and Sunday. The full list of artists and events is in the on-line program. Visit The South Shore Art Center for more information.

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