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Creative crowd comes to Coupeville for 50th anniversary of arts and crafts

Thousands of people descended on downtown Coupeville last weekend for the 50th annual  Coupeville Arts and Crafts Festival.

The festival took place Saturday and Sunday and drew hundreds of artists from across the country. They brought their paintings, jewelry, ceramics, fabric work and more to the festival, which filled the historic downtown.

Coupeville resident Kris Black, who got a henna tattoo of an owl on her ankle, said the festival offers a chance to do and see things you wouldn’t normally.

“It’s just fun because it’s not permanent and you can redo it,” Black said.

Festival President Mike Dessert said Saturday attendance for the event was staggering.

“It went fantastic,” Dessert said. “Saturday was crazy … it was a zoo.”

While the numbers have not yet been crunched,  Dessert estimates that more than 15,000 people attended the event based on past counts. Also, vendor sales were up from last year.

The fundraising event provides scholarships and grants to community groups or individuals for the purpose of promoting historic preservation, the arts or cultural enrichment.

Applications can be submitted through Oct. 24.

The Coupeville Arts and Crafts Festival is one of the oldest, continuously operating events in the state.

Begun as an effort to save Front Street, the event has grown in size and scope over the past 50 years.

In addition to being a showcase for artists of all types, it is a fundraiser that benefits the Central Whidbey community. The Festival Association, which organized the annual event, has awarded hundreds of thousands of dollars to the community over the years in the form of grants and scholarships.

More information about the grants can be found at

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