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The celebration of Kipona ended as summer faded into fall Labor - abc27 WHTM

The celebration of Kipona ended as summer faded into fall Labor Day

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HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) -

Swaying to the sweet notes of summer, one woman moved with the beat as a musician played his guitar under a tent. On Labor Day, people flocked to Front Street to drink in the final sips of summer.

Brad Heilman finished his wooden Native American Chief and child sculpture from a storm-torn tree at the foot of the Walnut St. Bridge on Monday. His project completion capped up a weekend of festivities.

Ernest Frazier who just began school said he was glad to take a break already and enjoy the event.  "It's always a good time," he said.

The youngster took part in the fair food frenzy that had become a riverfront staple when it comes to downtown festivals. Frazier's favorite was a root beer float.

"It was just awesome...just awesome," he said.

However, some who came to Kipona's art, wine, and blues festival felt this year's event lacked a little, well art. Melissa Babisch said she noticed the change.

"It's nice that you don't have to pay this year to get in…but, you'd think that would encourage people to come out..but it's a shame that more vendors don't want to come down to the city," she said.

The former Harrisburg Arts Council is now Jumpstreet. The group organized artists for the Memorial Day and Fourth of July celebrations, but decided to opt out of Kipona. One reason why Kipona offered fewer local artist vendors this go around.

Babisch would hope Jumpstreet reconsiders its sponsorship next year.

"There should definitely be a large emphasis on art and creativity and everything," she said.

One addition from last year's event was the wine tent. What began during the Independence Day celebration carried over to Labor Day. Matt Nino with Blue Mountain Winery & Cellars said he didn't hear many sour grapes about the fermented grape tent. 

"It definitely gained momentum," he said. "We had a lot more people come out."

The showcase of local vineyards tended to be a success the city may make a reoccurring attraction. As Kipona ends Monday at 7 p.m., those who missed out will have to wait about 120 days until Memorial Day.

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