Karen Warchol admires a hand-crafted bracelet at the 49th annual Saco Sidewalk Art Festival on Saturday while Denise Cassidy looks on. The women, both of Biddeford, were among many who attended the event. (Tammy Wells photo/Journal Tribune)

SACO — Sunshine, a slight breeze, artistic talent and customers eager to look and buy, all came together Saturday at Saco’s 49th annual Sidewalk Art Festival.

Whether people were in the market for a unique piece of jewelry, pebble art, Maine photography, a custom bird house, a lobster rope door mat, or an exquisite hand-painted scarf, there was plenty to spark the imagination — plenty of must-haves at the annual event.

In all, 66 artists plied their wares at the art festival on Saturday. About 40 percent of them were new to the one-day event, said Rob Biggs, the executive director of Saco Main Street, the nonprofit downtown advancement group that hosts the annual shows and sale.

Among the new artists was Crystal Reed of Skowhegan, who started creating art pieces from pebbles in 2017. Reed harvests them from the riverbed, on forest trails — and if a particular pebble or two strikes her fancy, from her driveway — and transforms them. While many may look at her raw materials and see only rocks, Reed sees lobsters made from pebbles, or maps of Maine, a man walking a dog, a snowman, or three birds perched on a clothesline.



“What a fantastic show,” said Reed in a Facebook posting on Sunday. “Couldn’t have asked for a better response to our work from southern Maine.”

“We love it here,” said Harry Kimball, who has been building an array of custom bird houses since the 1970s. Kimball of Lowell, Massachusetts, has been selling them at fairs and at festivals for a dozen years, often taking in 30 to 35 shows a year.

The birdhouses range from solo accommodations for our feathered friends to avian “condos” that can accommodate nests for many birds. Kimball uses items like antique doorknobs or decorative cabinet handles as perches.

“We love it here,” he said of the festival as he sold another bird house to a customer who had purchased one in 2018.

There were lots of interesting pieces at the 49th Saco Sidewalk Art Festival, including these birdhouses, hand-crafted by Harry Kimball. “We love it here,” he said of the annual festival. TAMMY WELLS/Journal Tribune

Suzen Raven of Raven’s Nest Studio in Biddeford was also new to the show. She employs acrylics to paint intricate designs on beach stones.

Mike and Lee D’Attilio were among those admiring Raven’s work. The couple had driven from Limerick, about 25 miles away, to take in the sidewalk art sale.

They looked at some unique birdhouses, photographic exhibits, and an array of art from other vendors including some hand-painted porcelain.

Saco resident Caleb Parenteau, 8, flipped through the offerings by Jim Reilly Photography, and compared three views of Portland Head Light before selecting his favorite — a print of the lighthouse with lots of foaming surf in the foreground.

He looked at his parents, and asked, and the response was “yes,” and the beginning of an art collection was born.

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Cindy Kimball, who is married to Harry, the bird house builder, said the couple enjoys the Saco show.

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