Portland Art & Heritage Fair 2021

Celebrating its EIGHTH year of existence, the 2021 Portland Art and Heritage Fair once again offered an exciting historical spectacle, with a flurry of activities that engaged imaginations younger and older alike.

2021: Full Circle

Saturday morning began at the US Marine Hospital with a starter’s pistol announcing the grand return of the Portland (Almost) 5K Fun Walk/Run. Kicks were laced, strollers wheels were oiled, and Wheaties were eaten. The route took participating runners over the I-64 pedestrian bridge, through lovely Lannan Park, along (almost) five of the most scenic riverfront kilometers in Louisville, over Portland’s secluded Shippingport Island bridge (offering a birds’ eye view of the McAlpine locks & dam), and back to the unsinkable hospital to form the winner’s circle.

Some of 2021’s runners!

Kickstarting the rest of the day’s festivities back at the Portland Museum was the dedication of the gorgeous Sketches of Louisville History 1778-1974 stained glass masterpiece by Robert Markert. It was a proud moment to see the museum’s front yard full of people, including the family and friends of the artist himself, who delivered a speech!

Executive Director Danny receiving some artful insight from Robert Markert

Most of the rest of the PAHF action was behind the museum, wher visitors go to stretch their legs and minds in our backyard oasis. Louisville Visual Art is returned with their annual Juried Art Competition, and anchored this year around the theme Full Circle. Whether it be circles of life, family circles, planets, steamboat wheels, Olympic rings, pizza or donuts, it is always interesting to see how the LVA artists take these themes and run with them. Congratulations to this year’s winners!

Keith from LVA speaking about the show with a guest

Alongside staples such as the Almost 5K and art show, this year’s Art and Heritage Fair was host to some new attractions! One of which was an interactive maze from Orienteering Louisville. Their huge backyard maze saw participants racing against the clock to both navigate the terrane and answer Portland-themed trivia questions, and was a hit with both young and old all day!

The maze in construction

Also popular and new was the mighty Tip it Forward bus, a full-sized vintage schoolbus, extensively renovated into a mobile body work studio which fit perfectly in our back parking lot. The Tip it Forward team left as many guests as possible with tiny acupuncture bandages in their ears and a centered feeling in their souls. It was awesome to watch them work on everyone from kids to grandmas to adults without homes, bringing a spirit of serenity and reflection to the Portland Art and Heritage Fair.

The exterior of the bus

Capping off the fair was the one and only River City Drum Corp. The kids of the Corp. pulled out all the stops and embarked on a two-hour audio odyssey, everything seemed to come alive. This was no surprise as the performance was dedicated to the one and only Ed White, founder of River City Drum Corp. and member of the Portland Museum Board. It was an honor to watch our own Ed White get his due recognition for his lifelong commitment to our community and its youth, and what a recognition it was! The young musicians were impressive beyond words one could type on this page. We were also proud to feature an endless screening of River City Drum Beat, a documentary film covering the Ed White and the Corp., for those escaping from the humidity inside the museum.

River City Drum Corp. in action!

Last but not least, holding down the fort all day was a roster of tabling vendors, with their wares ranging from jewelry, to art prints, to coffee, to tacos!

The West End Weird Corps

Thank you so much to everyone who came, we hope to see you next year! And remember: It will always come full circle.

Shannon Delahanty showing off the results of her printmaking workshop