Festival goers, creative types and colorful artworks filled the streets of Sherman Saturday for the 38th Annual Sherman Arts Fest. Held in the Sherman Municipal Ballroom and on the grounds of Lucy Kidd Key Park, Sherman Tourism and Main Street Manager Sarah McRae estimated this year’s attendance at more than 5,000 people and said the festival welcomed a record 140 vendors, representing local artists, businesses and organizations.

Offerings included an early-morning fun run, Sherman Art League contest, food trucks, musical and dance performances, and a host of family activities.

“The festival is a great way for area artists to showcase their work and for people to explore an enjoy it,” McRae said. “Art makes your quality of life better, your community happier.”

Sherman was officially recognized as a cultural district by the Texas Commission of the Arts in November 2018, making it one of just 40 other cities across the state with the same designation. McRae said North Texas cities like McKinney and Denton are known to attract visitors with their art scenes, so having a similar, art-supportive reputation will hopefully put Sherman on the map for more visitors.

“With our cultural district, we now really get to be a destination for the arts,” McRae said. “A lot of people base their tourism and travel plans on whether a city can offer something like that and if has a unique culture.”

John Wayne Smith of the Texoma Woodcarvers Guild was on hand Saturday with a large collection of hand-made and hand-painted statuettes. Smith said while even his smallest pieces can take as long as eight to 10 hours to carve, he and other artists — no matter their chosen medium — know creativity is all about the process and not the time it takes.

“You get to express your feelings while you do it and allows you to be a more creative person,” Smith said.

Festival goers were invited to make their own pieces Saturday with stations that offered opportunities for coloring, painting and photography. Though most works were bound for home and not the walls of a world-famous art museum, McRae said she hoped the festival would encourage more community members to create and support the arts.

“It doesn’t have to be a top-placing, blue ribbon-winning work of art, ” Mcrae said “It’s still worth doing and something that only you can make.”

Drew Smith is a reporter for the herald Democrat. Contact him at asmith@heralddemocrat.com.