Published 12:00 am Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Staff report
Blue Mama and her “smoking three piece orchestra” had everybody jumping along Easy Street late Saturday afternoon.
Everybody from kids barely out of diapers to seniors were shaking their hips and shoulders as they moved their feet to the jazz.
Mother Blues, Pat Cohen, drew a raucous roar of approval as she introduced her band, adding their name to a song, “Bobby ain’t got no drawers on.” And then it was Ricky’s turn and so on.
“It’s just getting good,” said Cheryl Goins, a local artist who exhibited and sold pottery during the day-long Art on Easy Street, the fourth year of the arts festival sponsored by the Rowan Arts Council.
She would like to see the festival keep going until 8 p.m. or later. It now ends at 6 p.m.
“It would be wonderful if it went later in the evening. That would draw a younger crowd,” said Goins, who has participated for three years.
George Thompson of Monroe had to visit the Hefner VA Medical Center Saturday morning.
While in Salisbury, he thought he would take a look at the festival.
“I’ve been here all day. This is good,” said Thompson, who found himself a comfortable perch on a rock wall surrounding the “Cook Garden.”
“The entertainment has been really good,” said Thompson, who praised the Rowan Arts Council for the overall event that included painting, crafts and activities for children in the Trolley Barn. “A lot of kids had a lot of fun.”
As he listened to Mother Blues, he wasn’t in a hurry to leave. “This is really nice, it’s got some panache,” he said.
A warm, yet overcast day kept the temperatures down, providing a break from last year’s sizzling heat.
Dozens of vendors offered an array of handmade items from jewelry to walking sticks. Some vendors demonstrated their skills on-site.
Business was pretty good for Natashia Caine of Wilmington. It was her first year at the festival.
“Business was good in the morning it died out later,” said Caine, who works festivals every weekend.
The hit of the festival may have been a large black labrador retriever mix called Mr. Bear.
He ambled about prompting his owner, M.T. Sidoli, to make lots of introductions.
“Mr. Bear’s spreading the love,” said Sidoli.
A certified therapy dog, Mr. Bear brings smiles to the residents of Liberty Commons, where Sidoli works.
By the time Sidoli opted to have a tattoo on her arm, Mr. Bear was ready to take a nap in the corner of the booth.
Sidoli’s friend, Joe Lancione, had arranged for the tattoo. “What’s it going to say?” she asked.
“Be surprised,” said Lancione as he headed off toward his business, A Step In Time.