Written by Patty Decker Tuesday, 18 September 2012 14:40
Between 5,000 and 10,000 people attended the 34rd annual Art in the Park and Craft Show Saturday in downtown Marion.
“I know the numbers were in the thousands,” said Judy Christiansen, chairman.
About 120 vendors from Kansas, Oklahoma, California, Missouri, Texas and Colorado came to sell anything from limestone and metal art to soaps, candles, jewelry, clothing, furniture and photography.
“The vendors told me the crowds stayed good all day long,” she said, “and the rain didn’t seem to bother most of them.”
With temperatures in the high 60s to low 70s, many visitors said they would rather have it cooler than too hot.
Christiansen said another thing she likes to do each year is visit the vendors to find out how they are doing. She also saw something she said was unique involving refurbished things.
“The vendors had bought items and changed them from one thing to another thing,” she said. “They came up with some very creative ideas.”
She said vendors took glass items and revamped it to make cake stands, cupcake holders, vases, goblets and more.
Some of the furniture was completely redone, she said, with two pieces taken apart and rebuilt as one thing.
“There were so many really neat things,” Christiansen said. “Each year the food booths are all local, which gives local organizations a chance to make money for their churches, school or booster club.”
Parking was no problem with a free shuttle bus leaving every 15 minutes from free parking lots at Marion Die and Fixture on the west side and the Marion Baseball Complex on the east side.
Now in her 18th year as the chairman, Christiansen said she thinks Art in the Park is the only art fair she knows of in Kansas that asks the Boy Scouts to help.
“They stay all night in the park, patrol the park, help unload Friday until late and they are there in the morning to keep unloading,” she said.
One of the vendors was pregnant and having a Caesarean section this week, Christiansen said.
“It was her fourth baby and fourth C-section,” she said, “and she was alone.”
The Boy Scouts helped her carry boxes to her car, unload items, and volunteers stayed at her booth while she took a break, Christiansen said. “She was really emotional, saying she wouldn’t have gotten through the day without the Boy Scouts.”
Although some vendors thought she was crazy for being at a show so close to her due date, the woman told Christiansen that next years she wouldn’t even bother with some of the shows and planned to come back to Marion.
“Those are the kind of compliments that keep me going for the next year,” she said.
Christiansen said the Marion Chamber of Commerce event also couldn’t have had an Art in the Park without the help of volunteers.
“They did traffic patrol, parking, escorted people to their booth, packed bags, and more,” she said.
Next year’s event is scheduled for Sept. 21.