CHESTERFEST: Artist, artisans bring crafts to the Fest

This year, the Chester Community Association (CCA) celebrates the 10th anniversary of the Village’s biggest annual event: ChesterFest. Out of the many booths and venders at ChesterFest, the Village News spotlighted three artists and artisans scheduled to make an appearance at this year’s celebration – each bringing their own craft for people to see.

Local artist Leslie Martin will be making her first appearance at this year’s ChesterFest. An administrative secretary for Chesterfield County by day, Ms. Leslie has been painting for fun some time before debuting her work at another local show not too long ago. Martin specializes in acrylic paintings and landscapes, all available at her booth at ChesterFest with prices ranging from $35 to $75.

A six-year veteran of the craft vender circuit, Agnes Balkishi will be making her way to the festival for the second time. Once a professor at Richard Bland Junior College, Balkishi, now retired, is bringing “Quilts by Agnes” back to ChesterFest. She will be offering traditional handmade, hand-tied, crib and toddler-sized quilts that are great to have around the house.

“I think of them as play-patches for the floor,” said Ms. Agnes. Prices of items vary from $45 for quilts, $75 for sets, and toddler napping bags for $60.

Coming all the way from Chesapeake, Shiroko Lifer brings craft and functionality to our neck of the woods by offering her handmade pottery. Mrs. Lifer makes plates, bowls, and other items practical in everyday life while keeping the aesthetic quality of her work unmistakably apparent. What started out as a hobby quickly became a career with “Shiroko’s Pottery” gracing festivals and shows all over.

“Pottery is more like my work now,” she said enthusiastically. Her pottery and other products will be available, moderately priced, at “Shiroko’s Pottery” this September.

In 2001, CCA organized ChesterFest in hopes of bringing the community together with music, good food, and local venders showing the public what they had to offer. Much hasn’t changed in the 10 years that followed. Although the festival brings in as many as 8,000 people now (compared to the 1,000 who came to the initial festival), it still serves as a way for artists and crafters, the hobbyist and the professional, to put themselves out there.

If interested in volunteering or sponsoring ChesterFest, businesses and individuals are encouraged to contact co-chairman Elliott Fausz at


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