Friday, August 17, 2007

New home, new success

That giddy sound coming out of the Sun Valley Center for the Arts is the staff's joy with the booming success of last weekend's arts and crafts festival at its new site at Atkinson Park in Ketchum.

By actual count of monitors at the entrance, more than 20,000 people attended and prowled among displays and booths of 130 artists at the park.

So successful was this year's event, the 39th annual show, that organizers and artists alike want to call Atkinson Park home for all future festivals.

We endorse that, heartily.

The esplanade at the Sun Valley Resort served admirably for years as the festival site, and the prospect of a different location had given organizers heartburn. However, it turned out that the near-downtown venue for the festival has its benefits. It's close to the art center's headquarters and future offices opposite the Post Office. Visitors to downtown Ketchum restaurants and stores are within walking distance of the park and thus can add to attendance. Parking is available in the surrounding areas.

Like other events that have become iconic fixtures in the Wood River Valley's panoply of cultural life, the arts and crafts festival is a major attraction for visitors, an unparalleled showcase for artists and their handicrafts, and a significant contributor to the area's economic well-being.

A strategic location easily accessible to the public and beneficial to artists is as important as the quality of the crafts on display.

The good things that came out of this year's show should be a rousing vote of confidence without reservations for continuing the yearly event at Atkinson Park.

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