Saturday in the Park

Early this week, when I heard that cooler temperatures would be coming over the next few days, my first thought was, “Okay, so how many shopping days until Christmas?” And I certainly wasn’t expecting a day like yesterday, October 9. It wasArt-in-the-Park one of those perfect Carolina autumn days, with perfect temperatures, just a hint of a crisp breeze, and the most glorious sunny blue sky—this is the answer to the question of why we put up with the fierce summers!

This Saturday, October 12, should be a great day to take advantage of both the wonderful weather and the shopping days left between now and holidays. Art in the Park, hosted by the Heart of Sumter Association at the historic district’s Memorial Park, offers the opportunity to do both. From 10 a.m. until 2:30George-Art-in-the-Park p.m., enjoy (and purchase!) handcrafted goods for sale by local artisans, many of whom you can watch at work.

Memorial Park (read more about it here), located in the block bounded by Park, Hampton, North Salem, and Calhoun Streets, features massive old trees, wonderful grassy areas that are perfect for picnics, and a children’s playground, so arrive prepared for a family affair. Children and leashed pets are welcome, and face painter Renee Robbins will be there to create living works of art (and not just for kids—she’ll paint grownup faces as well!). There will also be plenty of refreshments available for sale. The Heart of Sumter Association has hot dogs available with all the usual trimmings, and talented local chef Hugh China will be serving up beef brisket sandwiches. Also, the Shepherd’s Center will offer a variety of home-baked goodies, and Sumter Senior Services will be selling their own special Christmas cards.

Participants (more this year than ever before!) are expected to include:

• Amanda Cox
• Ann Kelly
• Beth Crawford
• Billy Taylor
• Carole Carberry
• Cathy Phillips
• Christine Smith
• Cypress Gourd Patch
• Debra Gleaton
• Dennis Snell
• Francie Thomas
• Heather Freiberg
• Jackie Stasney
• Joyce and Zeke McDaniel
• Kelly Cameron
• Kim Schneider
• Laura Cardello and Olivia Cardello Tucker
• Leslie Belflower
• Linda Brown
• Mackenzie Sholtz
• Marissa Witcher and Emily Steinkoph
• Melanie Herrington
• Mike Tucker
• Randall Castleberry
• Randy Heywood
• Renee Robbins
• Rhonda Simons and Heidi Adler
• Susan Allen
• Susan Hontz

…and still others who may show up! Arts and crafts—each item unique and made by hand—include paintings, pottery, jewelry, knit items, air plant arrangements, woodenJewelry-Art-in-the-Park bowls and furniture, scarves, batik, mosaics, and more. Local blacksmith Mike Tucker will also be on hand, and it’s always a treat to watch him at work.  In addition, music will be provided by Kit & Darren Polutta.

Now in its eighth year, Art in the Park has grown from a small “Yart Sale” (and my thanks to Betty Reese for coining the phrase in the early years of the event) to something like a mini-festival. Admission is FREE, and ample parking is available on Salem Avenue. Saturday is forecast to be partly cloudy, but it will be warm and chances of rain are slight. If it’s a good day for a walk, I may arrive on foot (and even bring my dog Ted, if he’s feeling sociable). We look forward to seeing you there!

by Colette Daniels

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