Winter Wonderland Takes on New Meaning with Debut of Baltimore Festival

Winter tends to drive us indoors in fear of freezing temperatures. Although, halfway through the season we become antsy, yearning for more than a movie night in. This past weekend, over 700 metro-area residents and Baltimore locals confronted the cold in search of some adventure.

The Winter Festival of Wonders premiered February 10th-12fth, housed in a 150 year-old artist-owned warehouse within Baltimore's Station North Arts and Entertainment District. Known as Area 405, the space was previously used for a brewery, industrial equipment maker, and a window blind manufacturer. With substantial space to offer, the warehouse was easily transformed into a magical world inhabited by creative vendors, outrageous performers, and curious visitors.

Friday evening kicked off the celebration with musical performances by KiloWattsand Aligning Minds. The following morning vendors set up their wares in the Mystery Marketplace, which was open free to the public between the hours of 12 and 5pm. Guests were offered a myriad of unique products, crafted by innovative artists from Baltimore and beyond. Merchants included Greenwood Creationsfrom Columbia, MD – Etsy artisan Michelle Greenwood, who sells wooden utensils and frames intricately decorated with a pyrography pen, Anschtecka– repurposed backpack and wearable art designs created by Baltimore textile artist Annika Blomberg, and Nikkuu– a Baltimore-based design and build company featuring the illuminating designs of Melissa Moore.

Beyond the market in a room as equally grand, visual and performance artists displayed their talents. Workshops on hula-hooping, juggling and tightwire, and bellydance were offered by groups such as Cirque Oya, Charm City Movement Arts, and male bellydance extraordinaire Bagoas. Artists included Brian Baker, Ed Gross, Ben Tolman, Peter Krsko, EMP Collective, and more. Sunday’s free show portion wrapped up with James Taylor’s Sideshow Lecture, provided by Shocked and Amazed!, followed by the ticketed event Dr. Nodnol’s Sunday Circus.

As the festival was a premier event, organizers and performers Jeramie Bellmay and David London certainly had their hands full. Always attentive to the needs of participants, they graciously provided a well stocked fridge, and made themselves readily available to answer any questions that arose.

“Both David and I were overwhelmed with how smoothly everything went with this event. It just goes to show you that with a clear vision, careful planning, and proper execution, things can in fact appear in reality just as you imaged it!” exclaimed Bellmay. He went on to say how pleased he was with success of local vendors, and how the positive reactions of visitors, from the moment they arrived to when they walked out the door, were really all one could hope for.

The participating artists were also satisfied with the experience. “The show was a success in my book,” Chad Ellis divulged, having sold some of his work.

While the festival proved to be a lucrative endeavor for everyone involved, Bellmay doesn’t necessarily feel it will become an annual event. “What exactly we are working on to share with the public always seems to morph, but never strays too far from the festivals mission to spread Wonder, Magic & Play across the Universe!”

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