Returning vendors join Art in the Park to connect with the community again

Art in the Park hosted an in-person event with nearly 80 vendors. Handmade items for purchase, art demonstrations and live performances were part of this year’s gathering.

Lucy Connolly Reporter

The weather was beautiful last weekend at Fred Fuller Park where vendors sold handmade items for the weekend event of Art in the Park

Vendor Jody Cercone said he was excited to get back out and connect with people over his art.

“The weather was fantastic for this weekend,” he said. “It is a great turn out for this year.” 

Angela Manley, director of Art in the Park, said there were around 80 vendors who attended this year’s in-person event. 

Manley and her team promoted the art celebration across various platforms.

“We advertise on statewide and national art festivals and art show websites,” Manley said. “People can look at those websites and our location and the weekend it is taking place and then usually they contact us for an application.” 

The registered artists expressed excitement to see people face-to-face. They lit up when someone walked in their tent. 

“I like to connect with other people that are creative and to see people’s reactions when they see the artwork,” said vendor Laurie Anderson.

Participating in the event for more than 10 years, Anderson sells watercolor and ceramic pieces. She passes out her business cards to gain more customers at her Etsy store where she has sold custom pieces to 42 different states. 

She said she likes to have people ask questions about her pieces because it shows they are interested. 

Cercone has been repurposing stage lighting and turning lights into clocks for eight years.

“I’ve spent my entire career selling this equipment new, and it’s gratifying to see this being put to good use instead of being thrown away to the side,” he said.

Cercone only attended one in-person Art in the Park before it was held as a virtual event last year.

Another Artist, Karl Koppes, said Art in the Park is his favorite art event because of the people he encounters during the weekend.

“Most people think we do it for the money,” Koppes said. “No, we meet incredible people and absolutely enjoy it.”

He goes to art shows with his wife Kathy and they manage the business together. Kobbes recently retired and focuses on his wood creations.

He said the thing he missed about the event was getting to make new connections with other vendors and the people who come to his tent. 

“You always exchange stories and find out where people are from, their passions and so forth,” Koppes said.

Art in the Park included art in all forms and other vendors who were not selling art. In addition to artists, the event featured many food vendors and live art demonstrations.

One of these art demonstrations included medieval combat performances done by the Society of Creative Anachronism. The society has been attending Art in the Park for eight years now and does demonstrations every year. They also bring armor and handmade clothing made by society members to show observers. 

Dave Myers, a society member, said he loves interacting with kids and putting on demonstrations to show what the hobby of martial combat is. 

“Seeing the kids, seeing their reactions when we do what we do and watch them interact with everything back here,” Myers said. “We love seeing that.”

Myers said he likes the exposure the society receives. 

“We get about two or three people to sign up every year after our demonstrations,” he said. “We even have one guy here with us that watched us and signed up and has now been with us for seven years.” 

Along with the Society of Creative Anachronism, Manley said artists appreciate the exposure they receive attending the event, and attendees come back every year for their favorite artists. 

Lucy Connolly is a reporter. Contact her at [email protected].