It’s officially August, and that means the streets of Coupeville will soon be flooded with artists.
The 2022 Coupeville Arts and Crafts Festival will take place from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 13 and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 14. More than 130 artists and vendors will be selling their hand-crafted goods and artwork, and food will also be available for purchase in historic downtown Coupeville.
Festival President Deborah O’Brien said this year’s event will feature a new face: Coupe, the festival mascot, is a giant seagull who will be available for photographs.
Coupe won’t be the only first-time festival goer; some new local artists will be joining the lineup of vendors for the first time. Among those making their Coupeville Arts Festival debut will be Bill Leuthe, an Oak Harbor-based woodworker who makes serving platters, cutting boards and furniture from repurposed wine barrels.
Leuthe first got into woodworking when he and his wife bought their first home. Leuthe found it was cheaper to buy and refinish old furniture than to buy new furniture, and his woodworking hobby took off from there. While wine tasting with his wife and some friends in Napa County, California, he began imagining what other forms the wood from the wine barrels might take.
Leuthe moved to Whidbey Island after retiring from the Marine Corps and has sold his wares at other local markets, but this will be his first time selling at the Coupeville Arts and Crafts Festival. He said he was thrilled and humbled to have been accepted alongside so many other talented craftspeople.
“We’re pretty excited to get in there,” he said.
Familiar faces will be mixed in with the new. Longtime volunteer Dale Folkestad has been with the festival for nearly 15 years and spoke with familial fondness about the festival’s core group of volunteers, many of whom have been serving together for years.
“It’s been a great experience for me,” he said. “The joy of giving back to the community — you can’t put a price on that.”
As chair of the parade committee, his involvement with the festival extends far beyond the month of August. He is in charge of getting the festival into community parades in Oak Harbor and Coupeville throughout the year to raise awareness for the event.
He is also in charge of getting vendors in and out of the festival in a safe and efficient manner, an already monumental task that will be made even more difficult this year due to the closure of Grace Street, he said. In the past, Grace Street has served as vendors’ primary exit point.
“This year is going to be a huge learning experience,” he said with a laugh.
Folkestad said the biggest surprise since joining the festival has been realizing how many people don’t know how much the event does for the community.
To date, the festival organization has given over $1 million back to Central Whidbey. Grant and scholarship recipients have included the Pacific Northwest Art School, the Island County Historical Museum, the Coupeville Library, Pacific Rim Institute and a number of Whidbey high school graduates pursuing further education, to name a few.