Arts festival attracts record numbers | Slideshow

An artsy crowd from around the region descended in record numbers on Coupeville for the 50th annual Coupeville Arts and Crafts Festival.

Coupeville resident Kris Black, who got a henna tattoo of an owl on her ankle, said the festival provides 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.

Henna artist Krysteen Lomanaco, of Seattle’s Mehndi Madness, said the appeal of the temporary tattoo art is that “you feel so cute.”

Coming to the art festival allows her to see regulars who come get, in some cases, bigger and more complex artwork year after year.

Nico Scorette, with Whidbey Birds, sported a parrot on her head as she mingled with adventurous children who wanted to pet her bird.

“It’s fun when the kids can interact with the birds,” Scorette said.

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

Festival president Mike Dessert said the Saturday attendance to 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 estimated more than 15,000 attended the event based on past counts and that vendors sales were up from last year.

A vendor himself, Dessert said products sold Saturday broke his own record for same-day sales at any other prior festival.

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.

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

In addition to being a showcase for artists of all types, it’s also a much- needed fundraiser that benefits the Central Whidbey community. The Coupeville Festival Association, which organized the annual event, has doled out hundreds of thousands of dollars to the community over the years in the form of grants and scholarships. More information about grants can be found at


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