By Jimmy Britt
RUTLAND—The Chaffee Art Center hosted its 110th Art in the Park Festival Saturday and Sunday Oct. 8-9. Dozens of fine art and craft vendors ranging from painters, sculptors and photographers to jewelers and food vendors were in attendance. The event not only gives local vendors a chance to showcase and sell their goods, but also vendors from out of state.
John Brooks and his wife Doris have been traveling from Templeton, Mass. for the last 17 years to attend Art in the Park. The couple brings an old fashioned-looking small red and blue trailer filled with fudge. Their food stand has a sandwich board of “diet tips” out front, which includes such witisisms as: “If no one sees you eat it, fudge has no calories.”
“We like coming up in the fall to Vermont. There’s nice weather and colors. The people are nice and like our fudge,” said Brooks.
To Brooks there’s more to the event than just taking in the colors of fall and selling his fudge. “I think it [Art in the Park] attracts a tourist element and gets the local people out here … and promotes the Chaffee,” he said. “It’s just fun to be a vendor at a successful event and we look forward to it every year.”
For others the exposure of being at Art in the Park can be just as satisfying as selling.
Ken Koenig of Shrewsbury River Copper Works has been a vendor of his copper insects for four years but has attended as a viewer for even longer.
“I like the response from people even if there is no purchase. Art in the Park is great for the community and the Chaffee runs a very good and organized show,” said Koenig.
Artist Piper Strong of Walden, Vt. has been selling her metal pieces for 15 years at this event. She has sold to not only local buyers but to those from across the region including New York and as far away as Italy.
“I like that it’s put on by an actual gallery and people come from all over. It’s great for Rutland to promote art and gives artists a venue to sell,” said Strong.
The event brings the community and tourist together as well.
“There’s a lot of cool stuff to see. I like to see my neighbor’s creations and the music is great. It keeps a pulse on the community,” said Brandon Lalor, who attended this year’s event.
Sara Humphreys came out to Art in the Park to get gifts for the holidays but stayed to take in more of the event. “My little ones love the music,” she said. Humphreys added that the event helps the local economy.
For others, it’s tradition.
“We come down from Colchester for our foliage tour each year. We love the venue and it’s just a good stop. We usually buy something,” said Jessica Juter.
“We’ll always come down for as long as it runs,” said Juter.
Photo by Jimmy Britt