A new look for Watertown’s Fall Fest focuses on the arts

Published: Oct. 8, 2022 at 7:22 PM EDT
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WATERTOWN, New York (WWNY) - This weekend, artists from across the North Country gathered along the Black River in Watertown. What drew them in? LAFF, which stands for the Locals Arts and Fall Festival.

It’s an adaptation of the city’s fall fests of years past.

According to event host Joseph Wessner with the Downtown Business Association, this year the focus is on local arts. And it’s new location is the Veteran’s Memorial Riverwalk.

“It’s just the perfect place for a fall festival. You’ve got the foliage you’ve got the river. The city for years was talking about including the river into everything so we thought ‘It’s right there,’” said Wessner.

Along with standard vendors and food trucks, artists were encouraged to sell, show off, and share their work. Wessner says the local art community is getting bigger.

“It’s grown a lot over the past few years. There’s always been an art community. It’s been in little enclaves like up in Clayton. Down in Sackets [Harbor] and other places. Really it’s grown exponentially over the last few years,” said Wessner.

To commemorate the event is a new mural. Members of local art collective Art 315 added their own personal touches throughout the day.

“We don’t usually have a specific plan at first. We just start putting down layers and seeing how it evolves over the next few hours. We tighten up, paint over and stuff like that,” said Taylor Soderquist, a member of Art 315.

And you can’t celebrate art without performance art. A number of bands and independent artists made appearances. One such group was the Clayton-based Joey Collins and the Creatives.

“We’re excited to be here. Happy to play for Watertown and the fall art festival. Excited to play today, hopefully more in the future as well,” said Joey Collins.

Joey’s not the only one who hopes to return in future years. With the success of Saturday’s event, Wessner plans to make LAFF a Watertown staple.