PITTSBURG — The first Art in the Park organized by Shandra Bicknell and Jordaine Pollard was held Saturday, but to artist Marianne Evans-Lombe the event at Lincoln Park seemed almost nostalgic.
“This reminds me of the old Little Balkans Days, before everything was moved downtown,” she said. “It’s just a nice community event.”
“It’s very laid back,” noted Peter Mayo, who browsed the festival area with his wife, Cheryl. “It’s good, I like it.”
Evans-Lombe, who had samples of her artwork available, shared a booth with Lorraine Achey, who had mandalas available, along with poems written to order on the buyer’s choice of topic.
“I haven’t sold a poem yet,” Achey said during the early afternoon. “But that’s all right, because today is going to be a day off and fun day for me.”
Vendors included several other artists, including Liz Darling.
“That young woman is very talented,” said Mary Wilson. “Her pictures are just beautiful. I want to get one of her cards.”
Jude Messner of Relaxation Station dispensed free pineapple iced tea and offered a variety of items for sale. She said one of her biggest sellers was incense.
“It’s good to get people out to the park, and this is a great opportunity for me to meet the public,” Messner said. “There are still people who don’t know the Relaxation Station is around. I paid a $35 fee to be here, and I think the amount was more than generous for the exposure. I’d paid it again any time.”
Other vendors offered food, jewelry and tie-dyed clothing. Liz Darling’s toddler daughter, Eden, found a pastel tie-dye dress.
“She loves her dress,” Darling said. “It’s about time someone organized an event like this.”
There were several activities for children, and the Southeast Kansas Humane Society did face painting at its booth.
“This has been a very popular place,” said Leslie Harris as she painted a youngster’s face.
“My little girl Rosa has had so much fun,” Evans-Lombe said. “She had her face painted, ate a snow cone and pizza. I’ve seen a lot of teens here, too, and I didn’t quite think we’d see that demographic out here.”
“There’s been a decent crowd, and this is a good spot for it,” said Kris Hartley, photographer.
In addition to the vendors, the event featured live entertainment by the Jody Phillips Dance Company, Team Big Red Drum Duo, Jeff Simpson on harmonica, J-Love and the Galactic Fund, Cousin Eddie and Rusty and the Thrusters.
“I think people really had fun,” Bicknell said.
“Some people have asked me to be sure and save them a place for next year,” Pollard added.
One of those returning will probably be Hartley.
“I’ll definitely do it next year,” she said.