January 27, 2023
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The Runningwater Draw Arts & Crafts Festival is right around the corner and its looking to be a big one.  

That’s a good thing, said Ted Baker. Attendance and vendor counts for the Plainview Rotary Club’s largest fundraiser of the year really suffered after the initial COVID-19 waves.  

Baker has hopes that this year will be so much better.  

For starters, he said, 61 vendors had signed up to host booths at the event as of Thursday morning. And he felt confident that list could grow by a few more before the day of the show.  

The festival will run from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Oct. 14 and 15 and from noon to 5 p.m. on Oct. 16. Admission is free, though donations will be accepted. Any donations will benefit the various Rotary Club service projects – like Words For Thirds and student attendance initiatives with Plainview ISD, to name a few.  

One big change people will notice this year is the inclusion of almost a mini comic con within the festival.  

“Anime art is kind of a thing now,” said Baker, event coordinator and a long time Rotary Club member. “I went to a couple of comic cons and some anime expos to kind of understand.”  

What he observed was a large interest in comics, all things superheroes, gaming, cosplayers portraying it all.  

“We’ve got a section that we’re introducing this year that we call Anime World,” he said.  

The bulk of the festival is traditionally set up in the barn portion of the Ollie Liner Center, noted Baker, who is also the current secretary and treasurer for the Rotary Club and a past president.  

This year’s guests will notice Anime World and gaming central in the arena.  

It goes hand-in-hand with the gaming tournament attraction hosted by Wayland Baptist University’s Esports team.  

On Friday, the Esports team will host a collegiate crew competition where local team members will play against Esports crews from Amarillo College and Lubbock Christian University and Contender Esports, which will be a mix of South Plains College and Texas Tech students.  

That tournament will begin at 1 p.m. Friday. Baker said he hopes it draws some spectators both to watch the tournament and to the rest of the festival.  

On Saturday, the gaming crews will host a Super Smash Bros. Ultimate open tournament. It’s open to the public to register to participate and to compete for cash prizes. That will start at 10 a.m.  

On Sunday, there will be a Dance Dance Revolution Hottest Party 2 tournament where dancers are invited to show off their moves.  

 There will also be free play going on both Saturday and Sunday.  

“We’re encouraging cosplay,” Baker said, noting that he’s got a cosplay outfit of his own he’s prepared to don for Saturday’s activities.  

While there’s a great emphasis on the new Anime World and gaming attractions, the Runningwater Draw Arts and Crafts Festival will still offer the same traditional booths its longtime guests have come to expect. There will be plenty of vendors selling handcrafted items like jewelry, etched glass, woodwork, photography, arts, food, clothing, etc.  

“I’m also proud of the presence that we have with some of our nonprofits that are here,” Baker said.  

There will be a few nonprofits present to share information about their various causes.  

It’s not too late to sign up for a booth. Baker said the deadline is Oct. 12. Those interested can email rwdartsandcrafts@gmail.com for additional information.  

Overall, he said, it looks to be “a spectacular weekend.”  

Ellysa Harris

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