FREEPORT — The Greater Freeport Partnership makes it a point to come up with unique ways to blend entertainment with shopping to bring people to historic downtown Freeport.
On Saturday, people were able to connect with local artists while sipping on unique ales blended with music for the annual Arctic Ale and Art Walk.
Seventeen downtown businesses made the experience fun for those who stopped to listen to the music of the Pretzel City Strummers play at American Garage Art.
As the musicians played their ukuleles, some sat to listen while sampling specialty beers while others looked at and spoke with the artists on hand.
Because covering a lot of downtown can make a person thirsty, the ale part of the festivities is a way to make the wintry experience unique.
George Yarzak of Freeport stopped to look at the many paintings created by Terry Werntz, who painted on an easel set up at American Garage Art.
Yarzak said it was a great day for he and his wife, Stephanie, to “experience the community in a fun way.”
“I have some of Terry’s work at my home, and I wanted to see what he had new,” Yarzak said. “The best part of an event like this is to let people see Freeport strong again.”
This is the third year for the event to be sponsored by the Greater Freeport Partnership.
Katie Gentz, the event coordinator, said the Arctic Ale and Art Walk has been a popular event to hold as the winter season nears the end.
Gentz spent Saturday recording videos at each location to post on social media. Gentz said she was pleased with the crowd on the cloudy day.
“I love this event, and it helps people get through the end of the winter months,” Gentz said. “This is about enjoying local, with a strong encouragement to shop at our fabulous stores with an added bonus of artists and ale tasting. We have families that came to see hands-on activities, and see the artists create and explain their works of art.”
Werntz had a large display of his art, depicting many local points of interest. He said leading up to the event, he began to work on a new painting of a barn scene from Wisconsin to have a good visual for the crowd as he painted during the event.
“I love this event, and it gets me among the people to see my art,” Werntz said. “This is a great way for me to network with other artists to see what they do, and as an artist, I love the exposure it offers to me.”
Jane Lethlean is a freelance correspondent.