As temperatures cool down and locals try to savor the last of the season’s nice days and outdoor events, Brookfield’s annual Fine Arts Festival is prepping to once again bring the community together to share in shopping, food and fellowship.
From 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 23, the village and the Brookfield Chamber of Commerce will host the eighth annual event at Kiwanis Park, 8820 Brookfield Ave.
With 25 local artists participating, Abby Brennan, event coordinator and owner of Brookfield’s Brennan Massage and Spa, promises a day filled with art the entire family will enjoy.
“There will be lots of painters, jewelry, pottery, fibers and art for children,” she said.
In tune with the fest’s reputation for featuring eclectic artwork, one artist coming out for the first time will be Nathan Freed, of Hinsdale, selling hand-painted canvas shoes.
Freed, whose artwork has been featured in the Chicago Tribune and on Windy City Live, will be selling his canvas shoes, with everything from Chicago sports logos to cartoon characters and funky geometric shapes.
“I took art classes through high school [and] it’s not really the route I expected to go when I was in college, but kind of where the chips fell,” said Freed, who graduated with a degree in statistics from the University of Missouri in 2015.
Freed, who began painting on inexpensive shoes purchased at Walmart, first gained a following in the area a few years ago after selling Chicago Blackhawks-themed shoes on Facebook. Eventually, he invested all the money he made from sales to purchase his own canvas shoe line called Sole Feet.
“It’s artwork you can wear,” he said. “It’s a conversation starter and the outfit starts with the shoes if you ask me, so I think it’s the perfect booth to check out.”
The shoes, which feature one-of-a-kind designs and are water-repellant, will be on sale for $60. Freed said a portion of proceeds will go to No Kid Hungry, a national organization dedicated to combating childhood hunger.
Throughout the day as guests walk through the park, they can also enjoy musical entertainment from the Riverside-Brookfield High School jazz ensemble, children’s songs and dancing from Clara D’Onofrio of Ms. Clara’s Joyful Learning Center and performances by young musicians from A Sound Education music school. Further jazz performances will be brought to audiences by Wheaton-based band ZAZZ.
For adults, BuckleDown Brewing of Lyons will be sponsoring craft beer and Joe’s Saloon of Brookfield will have wine tasting. And, to satisfy those appetites worked up while shopping, Big Mama’s Kitchen & Catering food truck from Chicago will be serving up jerk chicken tacos, burgers, nachos and other comfort food favorites. Food and drink will be available for purchase with wristbands at the event.
And, once again, there will be a bring-your-own-chalk sidewalk art contest from noon to 2 p.m. Participants of all ages will be provided a sidewalk square to decorate and cash prizes will be awarded to the top three winners — $100 for first place, $50 for second place and $25 for third. Those wanting to sign up may contact Brennan at 708-255-5335.
Like each Brookfield Fine Arts Fest of the past, Brennan promises attendees a fun-filled time.
“It’s good to support local artists, start on some early Christmas shopping, find something for your own home, an opportunity to bring your kids out [and] just to enjoy the day with family and friends,” she said.