It was hot and humid and filled with long lines but none of that seemed to have much effect on the
hundreds of people who turned out for the Arts Festival Street Fair on Tuesday, the Fourth of July.
“Beyond happy,” said Arts Festival President Jodi-Tatiana Charles.
Washington Street was shut down from the Lee Mansion to just before Darling Street to make room a
cast of characters that included Sir Mimealot, Big Nazo and his band of dancing aliens, Avery the
stiltwalker, Bonaparte the Magician, Maria Mercuri’s Ancient Fire Henna and balloon twister Jenni
Watrous. The Northshoremen, a barbershop chorus, was also on hand to woo passers-by, as was the
Merj Band, with rock and roll fiddle player Roze Malone and guitarist/bassist/singer Jim Malone.
Tom Schubmehl patiently waited in a long and winding line with his grandchildren, Nellie, Anna and Will,
who were anxious to visit Watrous the balloon twister.
“They’ve watched the magic show, waiting in line for balloons but the alien’s show is the big draw,”
And as if on cue, a gaggle of larger-than-life sized creatures began to bob and weave and dance through
the crowd, at one point noting that Marblehead was now the Alien Overlords’ permanent vacation
destination. After freezing for photos they broke into dance, a jumble of wiggling tentacles and high-
“They are Nellie’s favorite,” Schubmehl said.
Oceane Laurent was also a fan after one extraterrestrial stopped to perform an elaborate handshake
“That is the first time I ever got to high-five an alien,” she said with a laugh.
From the middle of the Festival, artist Martha Quigley watched the aliens’ festivities with apparent
delight. Tucked into a friend’s driveway along the route, Quigley’s ocean paintings were a popular draw.
“I’m a solo, one-person show of sorts,” she said, adding that she liked being in the midst of things.
Quigley said she appreciated the Festival and being part of it. As the coordinator of the Harbor Holidays
at the B.Y.C., an annual pop up shopping event that includes 23 local artisans, she is all about promoting
the arts and supporting local artists.
Across the way, a chorus of “habbita, habbita, habbita,” could be heard as Bonaparte wowed a crowd
with his magic act. Bonaparte said he’s been coming to the festival for decades.
“Because I love it,” he said simply. “I get to work with some of the most talented performers and the
organizers are top notch. They go out of their way to accommodate the performers.”
And Bonaparte felt the love. Not only did a number of kids watching his magic show rush to tell him they
recognized him from other events around town, but Larkin Smith said, for her, he was the best part of the day. She and her sister Pender and friend Anna Schuemann had stood in line for henna tattoos, seen
the Sir Mimealot and the aliens but they didn’t compare.
“Bonaparte is an amazing magician and he’s always hilarious,” she said. “It’s been a good day.”