5 things people enjoyed at the Sewickley Art and Music Festival

Monday, October 1, 2018 | 10:03 AM

Gavin and Jack Kahrs sat on a bench along the side of Broad Street, devouring their dinner of chicken and waffles from The Coop food truck during the Sewickley Art and Music Festival.

It was the perfect meal for the youngsters, especially for Gavin, 7, who had just finished playing in a baseball game for the Quaker Valley Cubs.

“It’s really good,” he said, as he licked his fingers and took another bite.

There were a lot of great moments at the Sewickley Art and Music Festival, held Sept. 28 and 29 as a fundraiser for nonprofit Explore Sewickley, and attendees and organizers said there were many reasons they enjoyed themselves.

Here’s the top five things we saw people enjoying at the festival:


The music at the festival was top notch. No matter what type of music you like, out of the 16 groups or duos that took the stage, there was something for everyone.

All of the acts were hand-picked by Sewickley Heights resident Rich Engler, a music coordinator and producer, who said he looked for variety when making his selections.

On Saturday, attendees got to sit back and relax and enjoy the tunes of The Highlevel, Mean Blue Planets, Tru Kin and the 16-year-old Elias Khouri Band.

Colonel Eagleburger’s Highstepping Goodtime Band marched through the street, in what Engler could only explain as something similar to a marching band, but with one member playing a washboard. Attendees gathered around and pulled out their phones, and a few even started to dance.

When Joe Grushecky and the Houserockers took the stage, the street was filled with people standing to listen. Some sang along, while others swayed to the tunes.



Valerie Kahrs waited 30 minutes in line at Cousins Maine Lobster for a hot lobster roll. Having lived in New England, she wanted to try the famous lobster that was once featured on Shark Tank.

“It’s good. It’s actually good lobster,” she said.

Festivals such as this were one of the reasons the Kahrs family moved to Bell Acres last summer. The weekend they were touring their first house there was a festival and they fell in love with that aspect of the community, Kahrs said.

The lineup of food trucks — six in all — at the festival was indeed a big draw, attendees said.

“I came for the food,” said Ashleigh Hudgins, 34, of Avalon, who brought her two children along just so she could taste the lobster from Cousins Maine.

Other options included The Coop Chicken & Waffles, Sinkers & Suds, Las Chicas and Evil Swine BBQ.

Emily Hoffmann of Clinton and her family sat on the side of the street to enjoy their dinner Saturday night.

With family in Sewickley, it gave them something to do, and they enjoyed the food.



A six-tap beer truck sat in the center of the festival, sponsored by Frank B. Fuhrer.

Attendees could buy a wristband for $2 and tickets to purchase beer.

Options included Great Lakes Holy Moses White Ale, Deschutes Fresh Squeezed IPA, Rhinegeist Bubbles Rose Ale, Southern Tier 2XIPA, Yuengling Lager and Labatt Blue Light.

The craft beer options were the most popular, said Mike Carelli, a volunteer with Explore Sewickley. About 70 percent of the customers wanted those.

The most popular, it seemed, was the rose ale, he said.

“People are coming back again,” said Carelli, who moved to Sewickley nine years ago from the South Side.

Having a festival like this in his backyard now is great, he said.

“It’s lots of fun.”


Coming together

The festival was a great way for neighbors and friends to gather and enjoy each others company.

“It’s like a block party but better,” said Jamie Denniston, 24, of Annapolis, who was visiting her sisters Lizzie and Maggie, both of Sewickley. They ran into neighbors and friends and had a chance to chat.

That’s a big part of the festival. Groups gathered throughout the street, and friends and neighbors often could be heard greeting one another and reconnecting.

“It’s a really good time to be able to come out with your friends and family and have some food and beer and listen to some music,” said Alex Lancianese, main street manager at Explore Sewickley.


Shop Sewickley

While all of those people were in the heart of Sewickley, that was the prime time for them to check out local businesses. Some had sidewalk sales to draw in those walking through by on their way to the festival. Sewickley United Methodist Church had its annual pumpkin patch set up, where attendees could buy a pumpkin to take home on their way walking to or from the festival.

Showcasing the business district, and providing people with an extra opportunity to shop while they’re at the festival is another positive, Lancianese said.


Stephanie Hacke is a Tribune-Review contributing writer.