Shad Fest will return to Lambertville April 23 and 24.
As always, this year’s edition will feature an extensive lineup of jewelry, ceramics, furniture, home décor, and clothing designers. New to the festival will be a home and garden section, a farmers market, and a “Locals Lane,” on Church Street, where select New Hope and Lambertville artists will exhibit and sell their art.
All of the kids activities will be staged on Ferry Street, right next to the food court at the corner of Bridge and South Union streets. A beer garden will be two blocks over on Bridge Street, in the Lambertville Station parking lot.
The Shad Fest poster exhibit and auction will be staged at the Frist Presbyterian Church, 31 North Union Street.
The posters will be on display April 23, from 11 AM to 5:30 PM, and April 24, from 11 AM to 2 PM. A silent auction will close at 2 PM April 24 and a live auction will begin an hour later. A locals preview party will be held at the church April 22, from 6 PM to 9 PM.
The exhibit and auctions are typically one of the weekend’s biggest draws. In recent years, more than 200 original works of art, all riffing on the festival in some way, have been submitted for each show. The entries come from all corners of the community, from Brownies and Cub Scouts to some of the region’s most notable artists.
It’s a tradition for many families and groups. It’s also a chance to do some real good within the community. All of the proceeds from the auction go straight into the Jim Hamilton Shad Festival Scholarship Fund, which, over the last 40 years, has awarded more than a half million dollars to local students. Each year, two graduating high school seniors from the Delaware River Towns are each awarded a $10,000 scholarship from the fund. Beyond living locally, the only requirement is that they pursue a degree in the performing arts or fine art, the first loves of the scholarship’s namesake.
“The community works hard to earn this money, and it is a delight to help fund the next generation of artists,” scholarship fund co-chairs Jane Wesby and Amy Coss said in a joint statement.
Shad Fest is many things to many people.
Three years ago, on the heels of the last festival, I wrote about how it had evolved from being an occasion to day-drink with my friends to something much different with my then-two-year-old son in tow.
“What it’s always been, though, whether everyone’s realized it or not, is the essence of the Lambertville community,” I wrote in that essay. It feels even truer now, with the last two festivals cancelled because of the pandemic and Tropical Storm Ida. In the wake of those events, we saw residents and business owners have each other’s backs time and again. Shad Fest is an opportunity to simply savor being neighbors.