On Sunday, May 21 HEARTS PW (Helping Enrich the Arts of Port Washington) will be hosting it’s annual PortFest 2023 at Seeber Field (between Weber Middle School and Schreiber High School) from 12 to 4 p.m. HEARTS PW is an independent, not-for-profit community organization whose mission is to add value to children’s lives and the community by supporting, promoting and enriching the arts in Port Washington.
This arts, music and community festival started a little over 10 years ago, and is a major fundraising event for HEARTS. The event is free to the public, though attendees need tickets for crafts. All money raised from these tickets, sponsorships, and donations from across the community go directly towards HEARTS grants next year, the 2023-2024 cycle.
Each year, PortFest is a kickoff to the summertime for the whole family to enjoy. With live performances, arts and crafts, and food trucks with sweet and savory options, there is a lot to enjoy.
“PortFest is a great springtime tradition, and it’s a great event for HEARTS to be able to showcase all of this great artistry in the community,” said Eric Gewirtz, Board President of HEARTS PW.
This year’s live performances include school groups from Schreiber, Weber and Elementary Schools, Bach 2 Rock, Dance Works, Dance Arts Center, Berest Dance Center and additional performances with Curtains Up and Port Summer Show.
“The performances speak for themselves. We have three of the dance studios in Port performing, which we didn’t have in past years,” said Gewirtz. “Berest is actually doing this sort of participatory dance event with a May Pole. It speaks to a larger theme of trying to do things that are a little bit new and also a little bit more participatory.”
The arts and crafts activity tent is always a hit with the children at PortFest. Tickets are required to participate in the arts and crafts. This year there will be recycled art, temporary glitter tattoos, button making, tie-dye fun and CD spin toy.
“There are two crafts that have a recycled art concept in mind,” said Gewirtz. “For the CD spin toy, we’re getting spools of old blank CDs from people from all over the community. Then this idea of sort of the recycled art canvas.”
The recycled art canvas will provide a space for creativity to flow where kids can use recycled materials and paint to create canvas artwork.
Something new this year is HEARTS PW’s partnership with OhMyGoodness to offer a free special arts and crafts tent for preschoolers.
“There are so many new families who have moved to town in the last couple of years, and they may not know PortFest by itself. So we wanted to do something that could really be of great interest to these young families who probably have preschool-aged kids or very young kids in elementary schools,” explained Gewirtz. “OhMyGoodness is creating a whole free arts and crafts area for this younger age group and for these younger families.”
The HEARTS PW team approached OhMyGoodness with the idea to include younger activities for the new families and OhMyGoodness produced several activities and crafts. The tent will be a great hands-on art experience to enjoy, featuring dirt and a planting area in mini-compostable potters, mandala-making crafts, sensory tables and jars, a play dough sensory table and a theatrical puppet class.
“[The tent for younger children] again speaks to this idea of sort of participatory events. It means a lot to us to be able to do something to bring these new families who maybe have not heard of Port Fest together,” said Gewirtz.
Not only is the area a great space for younger kids to keep busy and have fun, its a great opportunity for families new to Port to socialize and meet other new Port families.
“We occupy a very good space in the community. The public trusts us to raise money to create these art experiences that become our grants for the next year,” said Gewirtz. “But at the same time, there’s always going to be new families and kids who will enter the school district or be involved in something that HEARTS might have helped, like a program with a Parent Resource Center, for instance.”
HEARTS PW is hoping to get these young families involved and give them the opportunity to benefit from HEARTS’ experiences.
“It’s imperative for hearts to be engaged with the next generation of families who will be here, will be involved and get to experience all of this,” said Gewirtz.
For lunch and dessert, HEARTS PW is bringing back Rosie’s Grilled Cheese Truck, Yankee Doodle Dandy Chicken and Ralph’s Ices.
There are alot of great sponsors from the community that help make PortFest incredible. PortFest offers an honorable mention to the Dejana Foundation and The Gersh Family for their generous support.
As always, PortFest is a free event, though tickets for the main arts and crafts activity tent are required, as well as costs for the food trucks.
Donations can be made at PortFest to support HEARTS. Proceeds from PortFest benefit HEARTS, and go directly to the school program grants next year (2023-2024 cycle).
The event is rain or shine, and plans to move indoors to Schreiber High School in the event of rain.
PortFest is Sunday, May 21, from 12-4 p.m.
More info at pwportfest.org