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BEACHIN' FILE PHOTO A WORK OF ART. A stroll through Detroit Lakes City Park July 26 will have lots of items to look at during the annual Art in the Park event.

Art in the Park

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On Sunday, July 26, taking a walk through the park will be given an entirely new meaning by nearly 100 white-tented booths. From 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., the Detroit Lakes City Park will host its annual Art in the Park for the 31st year running.

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Begun as a fundraiser by the Friends of the Library, Art in the Park has been run by the DL Chamber of Commerce since 1997.

"(The Chamber) felt it was a good summer event," said Jean Erickson, office manager at the Chamber.

In the years since it began, Art in the Park has grown, especially with the addition of food to the wares being sold.

"On average we get about 90 booths of crafters, and we get about 10 food booths," said Renae Twigg, who is chairing the event for her third consecutive year.

Vendors are asked to fill out applications before being chosen for the event, which is non-juried.

"As long as (the items) are hand-crafted, they're accepted," said Erickson.

The majority of the vendors come from throughout Minnesota, but crafters from Iowa, Wisconsin and North and South Dakota offer Art in the Park a broader representation of the Midwest region's artistry and handmade merchandise.

Kris Tovson, president of the Chamber, describes the event's appeal as being due to the "innovative, creative, and fresh" nature of the items for sale. "They're different things (that people) don't see in retail stores," Tovson said. "The handcrafted items are of high quality."

Attended by several thousand every summer, Art in the Park maintains many of its vendors from year to year. Standby crafts at the event include wooden shelves, rag rugs, doll clothes, dishtowels, and jewelry. Subtle changes to the offerings available do, however, take place from one to the next.

"What I noticed new last year was glass -- a lot of people were doing glass jewelry," said Twigg.

Beginning with the Street Faire at the end of May and running through the rest of the summer, "we try to have events every weekend," Tovson said, adding that Art in the Park is an integral piece of maintaining a variety of venues for tourists and locals alike to enjoy in the Detroit Lakes area.

Of Art in the Park's virtues, Twigg added, "Even if I don't buy anything, I love to walk and look on a nice day."

"But we're fussy," said Erickson with a smile, "we don't like 93 and muggy."

"And no bugs!" added Tovson.

If need be, bring bug spray - Art in the Park isn't an affair to be missed.

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