Arts in the Park back again

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By Molly Haines

From art to demonstrations, from local food vendors to a wide array of musical talent, the Owen County Arts Council is promising an action-packed day for its third annual Sweet Owen Arts in the Park festival.
The event will be held at the Owen County Fairgrounds beginning at 11 a.m. Saturday.
This festival has continued to grow since its beginning in 2009, due in part to advertising on National Public Radio in Lexington, Louisville and Cincinnati.
Owen County Arts Council member Patty Petzinger said at least a third of those who attended the festival last year were from out of town.
“It takes a lot of money to advertise,” Petzinger said. “But it definitely seems to be bringing people here.”
Petzinger said this year’s festival will include demonstrations throughout the day by Ellie Petzinger on making pottery, Laura Sparks on working with beads, and Steve Petzinger and Lucas McNally on using a blacksmithing forge.
Planning for this year’s event began in January, Petzinger said.
“We have a meeting right after the festival every year,” Petzinger said. “We try to start planning right at the first of the year or even before. You have to start early to get your bands before they get booked up. It takes a lot of time, but we’ve received a lot of donations from the community. They’ve done an excellent job with helping us out and that’s really the only way we can do this.”
The festival will feature local artisans and student artwork from all four of Owen County’s schools.
Artwork will include fine art, pottery, photography, wrought iron, baskets, beads, jewelry, handmade soaps, handcut flutes and gourds.
Owen County Arts Council member Barbara Duvall said so far there are 18 confirmed vendors for the event, but about six more that may also participate.
“We have about the same amount of vendors as last year,” Duvall said. “We did lose a few people from last year, but we’ve replaced them with others.”
Duvall said about 800 people came to last year’s event.
Local food vendors Rick Wilhoite and Betty Richardson will cook for the day.
Music will begin at 11 a.m. with the Owen County High School band, followed by a youth talent show at 11:30 a.m.
Mandy Holbert will play at 1 p.m., The Downtown County Band at 2 p.m., Dan Hardin at 3 p.m., Tupelo Honey at 4 p.m. and Velvet Soul with Paul Collins at 5 p.m.
Petzinger said John Harrod and his fiddle students will be the event’s roving musicians.
“It’s a better festival every year,” Petzinger said. “There are a lot of regional artists, but an awful lots of Owen County artists, too. All of the schools participate, and these kids work very hard every year to get their art ready to show. We try to get the children involved every year.”
Duvall agreed that the event holds a little something for everyone.
“This is something we’re trying to do for Owen County,” Duvall said. “It gives people something to come out and enjoy. There are so many talented artists around that a lot of people might not know about. Here they can see the talent that’s in their community. The art council is very proud of this event and we hope it continues to grow and pull more people into the community.”
The event, Duvall said, would not be possible without local businesses, restaurants and volunteers who help every year.