By TIM DRUGAN-EPPICH
People were drawn to the sound of a crowd and live music while they wandered around downtown Durham on Sunday. Arriving at the source of the noise, people were met with the sight of children painting and enjoying artistic demonstrations, as well as a large dose of sugar. Parents were hustling after the smaller versions of themselves as the sugar rush hit.
The second annual Alleyfest was held, as the name suggests, in an alley this weekend. The Makery and The Candy Bar teamed up to put on a community event that included lots of candy, music and art.
Wendy Brooks, a co-owner of The Makery, was quick to share the reason for the festival.
“There should be more opportunities to bring students and the community together,” she said. “So this is a community party to celebrate the fact that we’re in an alley.”
Brooks and her co-owner Sarah Grandy managed the large crowds well.
“”It’s our gift back to the community,” Grandy said. “We’re trying to revive the town vitality.”
Grandy and Brooks said that over 350 people put their handprints on the mural last year. This year they aspired to top that, aiming for 500 people by the end of the day.
Even with that many people, they hope for it to continue to grow. Chris Guerrette of The Candy Bar has high hopes for the festival in years to come.
“The 10-year goal is to shut down Main Street for half a day,” he said.
It is Guerrette’s first year participating in the event, as he just bought The Candy Bar in the last year.
“I think this is a blast,” he said.
But for a community event to grow, there has to be something that brings people back year after year. Grandy thinks the artists’ demonstrations along with the 3D printer on display serve that purpose.
“It is a chance for children to peel away from their devices and ask about something being made right in front of them,” she said. “Kids love it, but also parents enjoy having the chance to give their kids new experiences.”
Locals attending the event echoed this sentiment.
“My son loves this festival,” said Jaume Marti, who was there with his wife and son. “I think (he) enjoys the art and the company.”
Activities included eating various candies, face painting, temporary and henna tattoos and a long list of live bands.
“Many hands have contributed to make this a vibrant event,” Grandy said.