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Sweet Sweet Summer returns, bringing art, culture to Canal Street

BY: Rikki Cason | April 20, 2014

With the summer months around the corner, Lockport will once again be celebrating art and culture with the second annual Sweet Sweet Summer.

Ellen Martin, owner of Sweet Ride Rentals will be hosting a variety of activities throughout the summer months, combining art, geography, creativity and words of positivity.

“There are a lot of great community events in Lockport and during the summer we have a lot of visitors,” she said. “I like the quirky and unexpected … and art. All of these projects fall into these categories.”

Last year, Lockport saw painted outdoor pianos, a chalk festival, yarn bombing and a giant chalkboard where sweet dreams were recorded.

“Overall, I think (last summer) was a success,” Martin said. “The pianos got a lot of play, the chalk festival was amazing and the Sweet Dream wall was a lot of fun. People have so many different goals and dreams.”

This year, several new activities have been planed, including a giant geography bee and outdoor quilting bee.

Memorial Day Weekend will kick off the Sweet Sweet Summer with Sweet Travel. The giant geography bee will feature a 20 by 30 foot multicolored map of the United States. People can “visit” every state this summer and test their knowledge. The map will be located out front of Sweet Ride Rentals, 51 Canal St.

The Sweet Quilting Bee will finish off the Sweet Sweet Summer events Aug. 23 and 24. Members of the Kenan and Dale Quilting Guilds will join together to quilt in honor of Lockportian Aaron Mossell.

Mossell’s efforts resulted in the integration of the Lockport School system 90 years before Brown v. Board of Education.

“I think the Aaron Mossell story is a great one and quilting is a real art,” said Martin. “Lockport has some great quilters as evidenced by the Kenan Quilt Show. I thought it was a great idea to combine the two.”

People will be able to watch the quilt come together and experienced quilters can join in.

Also new this year will be Sweet Art Alive. This event will take place Saturdays throughout the summer. Employees of Sweet Ride will pose as famous works of art. People will get to see the Girl with the Pearl Earring, Sargent’s Madame X and Degas Dancers.

There will also be two paintings where visitors can pose — Much’s Scream and Magritte’s Son of Man.

A few year’s ago, Martin attended the Pageant of the Masters in Laguna Beach, Calif. She said it was an entire show of painting re-enactments, which she found “unbelievable.”

“For some strange reason, the Sweet Ride employees look like famous works of art,” said Martin. “So we are going to dress them up and put them in frames or for sculptures, put them on pedestals.”

Two events will take place throughout the entire summer. The sidewalk project will allow people to write positive things happening in Lockport on sidewalks around Canal Street.

Rock the Locks will place decorated rocking chairs around the downtown area. Similar to the decorated pianos last summer, different businesses will decorate the chairs celebrating Lockport, summer and local businesses. Currently, Sweet Ride, J. Fitzgerald Group, Flight of Five Winery and Pallister House have signed on to participate.

Martin has also issued a mayor’s challenge for Lockport’s Anne McCaffrey, North Tonawanda’s Robert Ortt and Niagara Fall’s Paul Dyster to decorate chairs representing their city.

The only event returning this year will be the Sweet Chalk Festival Aug. 16 and 17.

Last year saw the creation of the Mona Lisa and around a dozen chalk art works by local and area artists.

Headliner Carolyn Schultz is returning, as is crowd favorite Joe Mahley. New to the event is Eric Maruscak who specializes in Super Heroes and 3-D.

Prizes are available to local artists and students. There will also be an area for “Little Chalkers.”

For more information or to volunteer or participate contact Martin at Sweet Rid Rentals, at ellen@sweetsixteencafe.com or visit www.sweetsweetsummer.com.

Martin is currently looking for local artists and students to participate in the chalk festival.

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