Every local I know has a favorite way to enjoy the Kimball Arts Festival. Artists, like my pal Jenny Terry, thrill at the prospect of being invited to participate. Others have repeat gigs as festival volunteers, selling tickets at gates, staffing the kids’ activities, helping out the artists, and doing countless little tasks that most festival attendees never realize have to happen. And, of course, tons of locals turn out on the Friday night of the festival, when locals are offered free admission.
This year, as my family and I toured the festival, I realized that we, too, have our own Festival tradition the “Sunday morning stroll.”
We tend to arrive soon after the gates open on the final day of the festival. The sun isn’t quite high enough to beat down on the pavement, so it’s comfortable to walk around. We’ve likely enjoyed a late breakfast, so the kids aren’t clamoring for lunch the minute we arrive. And the crowd hasn’t hit its nadir yet, so we have the ability to chat with a few of the artists.
Also, we never know who we’ll run into. This year I had some marching orders. A friend in Boulder, CO had sent me a message that she wanted me to stop by the booth of an artist friend whose work she has photographed. We stopped to say hello to Dolan Geiman and got lost in his booth for a while, admiring his unique brand of “upcycled” art: objects layered and textured with a variety of media, and creating the kind of art that engages you in different ways every time you look at it.
Later as we made our way through some fascinating photography booths, we ran into our neighbor, Christopher, and his cousin. “I’m looking around to see what other wood workers are up to,” he explained. A talented carpenter, Chris is always eager to explore new ideas and inspirations.
Of course, we stopped to see Jenny, who was thrilled by the response she received from her work this year. “I am so happy to see friendly faces,” she said. “I love meeting new people, but seeing my friends at the booth is a treat.”
Finally, we ran into our friend, photographer Mark Maziarz, who, it could be argued, had the most fun job at the Kimball Arts Festival: he was on duty capturing the presentation of awards to the winners.
How do you enjoy the Kimball Arts Festival? Is there a method to your walk-and-hunt, or does each year give you the chance to do things a little differently than the year before? Let me know in the comments!