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Music, arts and shotguns make for busy week

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By Molly Haines

Despite the heat, citizens of Owen County and those visiting for the 2009 U.S. Open Sporting Clays Championship came out strong for the first annual Sweet Owen Arts in the Park held at the Owen County Fairgrounds Saturday.

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Thirty artists set up at the fairgrounds to display and sell their work. Musical entertainment was provided throughout the day.

Jennifer Nippert, chairman of the Owen County Arts Council said she felt the event was a success.

“For a first-year event, I think it was a good effort and a good success,” Nippert said. “It was really hot and I think if the weather had been a little cooler the turnout would have been stronger.”

Local artist Jill Mardis said she felt the event was a great success.

“The whole thing has just been absolutely fabulous,” Mardis said. “The way people were buying you wouldn’t know the economy is down. The turnout was great and it wasn’t just local people coming out.”

Tonya Fedders of Flat Creek Pottery in Grant County said although the weather was hot, she felt the event was successful.

“I think for the weather we’ve had a good turnout,” Fedders said. “It has been hot but I don’t think those who came out minded too much.”

Nippert said she felt like each aspect of the event went over well.

“I think everyone really enjoyed the music and our food vendors were great,” Nippert said. “I don’t think the artists really knew what to expect, but for the most part I think everyone was excited.”

Being able to interact with the artists made the festival more enjoyable for the general public, Nippert said.

“I think everyone enjoyed being able to see a variety of different arts and crafts,” Nippert said. “Being able to talk to the artists about their work and engage in a conversasation to find out what goes on behind the scenes of the artwork gives the whole thing a personal touch.”

Nippert said the sale of raffle tickets and donations to the arts council totaled between $800 and $900, which will go toward next year’s event.

Nippert said the Owen County Arts Council will begin planning next year’s Arts in the Park soon.

“We’ll probably sit down and discuss everything next week,” Nippert said. “We’ll start talking about what we did right, what we did wrong and changes that need to take place.”

Nippert said the arts council is hoping next year’s event will take place at the end of the school year so kids in school can participate through their art classes.

“The more opportunity we have to showcase what’s in Owen County the better,” Nippert said. “It’s a lot of work but you see people enjoying themselves and that is worth it.”

Following Arts in the Park, the 2009 Battle of the Bands, sponsored by the Owen County Teen Alcohol Prevention Project, also took place in the park Saturday.

Four bands competed in the event, including an Owen County band, Broken Heroes Fall, which  received first place and $100. Members of the band said they were saving up their money to buy a sound board.