Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Arts festival?s new location a success

Sun Valley Center hopes to keep show in Ketchum

Express Staff Writer

Ketchum City Councilman Ron Parsons peers through a handmade kaleidoscope at the festival. Photo by Willy Cook

The 39th annual Sun Valley Center Arts & Crafts Festival had a change of venue this year, moving from the Sun Valley Resort esplanade to Atkinson Park in Ketchum. An array of artists from around the country displayed their wares to a steady stream of visitors and valley residents from Friday, Aug. 9, through Sunday, Aug. 12.

"It went really well," said Sun Valley Center for the Arts Marketing Director Kristine Bretall. "The new location was fantastic, and everything I heard from festival visitors was positive. It was right in town, which made it a real community event. It was easy, and people came all three days."

The Center added local food vendors for the first time, and their presence was a welcomed addition.

"Artists were positive, and they liked having local food vendors," Bretall said. "The food was wonderful and people stayed."

In the past, The Center was unable to count the number of visitors to the festival because people came from many different directions at the Sun Valley location. This year, The Center was able to place a counter at a main entrance.

"Friday we had 7,700 people," Bretall said. "There were 7,000 people on Saturday and 5,000 to 6,000 people on Sunday. It was absolutely astonishing."

Making the festival successful was an army of volunteers who help The Center do everything from setting up the festival to selling T-shirts to booth-sitting for artists so they could take a break.

"It is a wonderful way for the community to participate," Bretall said. "The one thing about this year's festival is that it was centrally located for everyone in town. It felt like more of an accessible event, and the parking worked out well."

Bretall said she hopes the festival will be back at Atkinson Park next year because it was great to have it three blocks from The Center, and the location is excellent for The Center's future home on Second Avenue.

"The Parks and Recreation people were very kind, open and welcoming, as well as great to work with," Bretall said. "The sales were good, and at the end of the weekend the artists were happy and really liked the new location."

Despite the fact that the weekend was not without its share of events, such as the Community Library Tour of Homes, which is considered the library's biggest fundraiser of the year, festival director Kathryn McNeal said, "I think everybody got to do what they wanted."

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