The lady and the queen:

The women behind the Miamisburg Artisan Festival

By Amanda Dee

Photo: The Miamisburg Artisan Festival takes place Sept. 12 at Riverfront Park in Miamisburg; photo: Pegge Hein Bellamy

The queen’s relationship with the lady began when she needed to retouch one of her slates.

Pegge Hein Bellamy, also known as The Salsa Queen, has been making salsa since 1998, but it wasn’t until 2008 when she began to sell her art as A Bit of Bite Salsa. Dina Cain, also known as The Slate Lady, has been in the business of painted slates a little longer—for 27 years. But, Hein Bellamy says, it took nearly 14 years and the end of the Starving Artists Festival for them both to realize doing a festival themselves “is just an extension of who [they] are.”

“I live, eat and breathe everything I do,” Bellamy says.

And in front of the stage at the Riverfront Park that will host local musicians Sept. 12, as Hein Bellamy and Cain iron out last-minute details (like double-confirming the “grilled cheese lady”), the back-and-forth from the festival personal to the professional attest to this.

“If we were married we’d be a perfect couple,” Hein Bellamy gushes, turning to Cain and touching her arm. “You are such a great business partner.”

Once the queen and the lady started getting to know each other, things clicked. In part, because both are mothers and both are about the same age. “I’m actually 80, and she’s 70,” Hein Bellamy says. “Don’t we look good?” Cain adds.

They also love the Colorado landscape and point to the adjacent treeline on the river, comparing it to the mountains.

For the second year of their Miamisburg Artisan Festival, Hein Bellamy says they’ve juried the artisan vendors—artisan meaning not “someone who does those rubber band bracelets,” something not just anybody can do—just as tenderly as the first.

Paper Alice, who repurposes junk mail into art, will be there. A wood churner. “The pecan lady.” And the list goes on.

“We wanted something special. We really wanted something intimate. I’m gonna start crying…” Hein Bellamy continues, red-eyed.

The attendees of the festival are special to them, too. One of those attendees inspired Cain’s title.

“I had a lady who had been in a terrible car accident and her husband would bring her to every show. She’d always buy my slates. She always called me The Slate Lady. …He’d wheel her up there, and she’d come to every show… She passed away, and I said, ‘From here on out, I’m gonna be known as The Slate Lady.’”

In a world where even children’s eyes are magnetized to screens and a Starbucks is the same in England and America and China, they say their fest is a time to focus on what’s right in front of you. While working a farmers’ market the day before her interview with Dayton City Paper, Hein Bellamy got fed up with this.

“This little boy was at the table doing this,” she pretends she’s texting and continues. “I kept shoving a chip in his face, and I kept saying, ‘be in the moment,’ be in the moment,’ ‘be in the moment.’  And the mom was like laughing at me. The chip was going right into his nose. What little boy would rather play a game than eat food? Our kids are going to grow up not knowing how to talk to people.”

They say the fest is about connecting with people, but part of that comes from supporting the businesses right in the backyards.

“This is grassroots America, baby,” Hein Bellamy says. “You know what I’m saying? Nothing against the big boxes, but there’s nothing better. I’ve always felt this way. Wherever I’ve lived. The stability of our country is the small business person.”

“And, you know what, you’ve gotta have creativity,” Cain adds. “Children have to start with creativity. It’s just as important as academics or anything else.”

This value is why they used the profits from last year to scholarship to a child through the City of Miamisburg and aim to do the same this year.

“Who wants to buy the same box?” Hein Bellamy asks. “…And that’s for that time when people are here; every single one of our vendors wants to talk to you…. Live your life. Just be here.”

The Miamisburg Artisan Festival will be held from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 12 at the Riverfront Park, 30 S. Miami Ave. in Miamisburg. For more information, please visit or call 937.654.4346. For more information and products from The Slate Lady, please visit For more information and products from The Salsa Queen please visit

Reach DCP freelance writer Amanda Dee at

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