Y-Bridge Festival returns after a two year hiatus to celebrate the arts in Zanesville< < Back to
ZANESVILLE, Ohio (WOUB) – The annual Y-Bridge Arts Festival returned after a two year hiatus, and for one artist, it was a chance to raise awareness for a good cause.
“We don’t take a salary. All of our profit goes to pancreatic cancer research,” said Mel Preston, the founder of Diane’s Seeds for Hope, a nonprofit organization.
Preston’s wife, Diane, was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in the fall of 2018. She died in March 2020.
“Before she was diagnosed or anything, she loved to feed the birds,” Preston said. “She enjoyed the blue birds.”
For his wife’s love of birds, Preston started making her bird seed cylinders, which is how it all started.
“After she passed, we all wanted to do something to raise money,” Preston said. “So we started just playing around with some ideas.”
Preston said that when he first started the organization, the goal was to make as much money as possible for pancreatic cancer research. But then that segued in a deeper direction.
“After two or three events, we soon learned that very few people understand the risk factors with pancreatic cancer,” Preston said. “So it became more important than money to have handouts and talk to people about risk factors.”
At the Y-Bridge, visitors crowded Preston’s stand not just to see his work, but to hear his story and have a conversation.
“A lot of people will come up and talk to me and tell me about their situation,” Preston said. “I met a man here today who had six siblings, and all of the males died from cancer. He was 70 and outlived them all, and he was a cancer survivor.”
The bird cylinders are not only a hit for bird lovers but for the birds themselves. The cylinders are full of different seeds and fruits, and are a great attraction for them. Preston also makes feeders with all sorts of patterns and colors – some blue, some red, some floral.
“And I’m thinkin’, you know, birds don’t care,” Preston said. “But the birds aren’t buying the feeders. Yeah, I had to learn that. People buy feeders.”
Preston recently started selling and showcasing his work at festivals, and for the rest of the year, he is scheduled to be at an event each month. One hundred percent of the profit goes to the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network and the Lustgarten Foundation.
Vendors from all walks of life traveled to a secluded area next to the Muskingum River to sell and showcase their art at this year’s Y-Bridge. The Artist Colony of Zanesville worked hard to bring the event back to its full capacity after losing two years to COVID.
“We wanted to try and involve more areas,” said Kristen Brown, the Artist Colony president. “We also have an open mic going on, so everybody can get up and share their music, so that it’s also involving local musicians as well.”
Visitors tasted snacks and refreshing beverages from food trucks like All-Star Shake Ups while perusing art across Zane’s Landing Park. There was a wide variety of crafts for sale, from paintings to handcrafted figurines made out of metal.
For information about Diane’s Seeds for Hope, visit www.dianesseedsforhope.com/birdseed-feeders.
For more information on next year’s Y-Bridge Arts Festival, visit ybridgeartsfestival.com.