(WJET/WFXP/YourErie.com) — After a brief pandemic hiatus, the Edinboro Art and Music Festival is returning this weekend.

The three day event will be held May 20-22 at Goodell Gardens (221 Route 6N in Edinboro).

Initially, the festival was launched in 2004, but this year will mark the event’s 17th year. It’s one of those COVID-19 pandemic closure blips that will confuse “annual event” timelines for years to come.

“It would have been 19 years, but we obviously canceled in 2020 because it was right in May (when the pandemic had its first wave). And last year, it was early in the season, and there’s so much grant writing and planning we need to do in advance that we weren’t comfortable doing it,” said festival committee member Anita Parker. “Last year, because we had had some grant money, we had a mini festival in August. We had a band and a golf fundraiser event — we were active, but we didn’t have the full-blown festival.”

This year, Parker said they plan to add a cycling event. That event is being coordinated with 814 Outdoor Sports at 500 W. Plum St. in Edinboro. It begins at 9 a.m. on Saturday, May 21.

“The bike shop is hosting the event, but the proceeds will be benefitting the festival,” Parker said. “We were already doing wellness events, but now we’ve added a bike ride.”

And that’s somewhat been the case for the festival over its history — it’s gradually grown. It started with a little concert on Mill Street with tents. Then the event was held downtown, but it has since outgrown that space as well. Now, Goodell allows for essentially nonstop festival action.

“Goodell enables us to have performances in the barn while we’re having performances on the main stage, and workshops in the tents, and jam circles,” Parker said. “Having one big location like that has been helpful to have a lot of things going on simultaneously, so people can park and walk around and see and participate in a lot of things without having to get back into their car.”

Everything kicks off with a memorial dedication for Dana Atwood beginning at 4 p.m. on Friday, May 20. Music follows. Classes/workshops/wellness start at about 9 a.m. on Saturday, May 21 and music begins at about 11:30 a.m. The fun continues with classes and wellness again at about 9 a.m. on Sunday, May 22, and music at about 11 a.m. Artisan tent hours will be 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Saturday, and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday. The full schedule can be found on the festival website.

The event is free. The organizers secure grants and host fundraisers to support their event. People who attend can buy a button for a $5 donation.

“We have button sales, but you don’t have to. And you don’t have to buy a ticket — it’s a free event, and it’s a lot of fun,” Parker said. “It’s a great time to get together with a lot of like-minded people, with a nice vibe and a nice event. This is almost like a spring homecoming event. Everybody comes out. The town is very supportive of the raffles, and a lot of donations come in.”

The event essentially is live music, wellness, art vendors and food trucks. Who doesn’t need a healthy dose of all four of those in times like these?

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“We’re thrilled to be coming back after COVID. Two years off were difficult for everybody. We’ve had a great response with the comeback this year,” Parker said. “Really hardworking individuals make this happen. They have a lot of different strengths that they bring to the table, and we couldn’t do it without them.”