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Art in the Park is July 31

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.

Organizers of the 33rd annual Art in the Park are painting a pretty picture of this year's event.

"Oh, it's going to be such a nice, relaxing, family-friendly event," said Detroit Lakes Chamber of Commerce President Carrie Johnston. "We take over the park and fill it with vendors, live music and food."

Art in the Park is just that -- a place where local artists and crafters converge in one place to sell their masterpieces.

Approximately 100 vendors will set up shop on Sunday, July 31, at the city park, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

The stipulation for these vendors is their products have to be homemade arts and crafts.

"So there's a lot of jewelry, some metal sculptures; we see some glasswork, hand crafts with textiles, a lot of photography -- really a little bit of everything," said Johnston.

After 33 years of holding Art in the Park, Johnston says the Detroit Lakes event has evolved with the art world.

"We've seen the day when it was a lot of Grandma's crochet things, then to hand painted signs, and now to a lot of metal and beadwork."

Johnston says most of the artists are from the immediate area and many are repeat vendors, but some are from out of state and some are new.

Like Avis Harden, who will be there this year selling her oil paintings -- mostly landscapes. Even though she grew up in the Perham-Richville area, this is her very first time showcasing her paintings at Art in the Park.

"I just began painting 15 years ago when I retired," said Harden. "I always wanted to try it, but never had the time or the money to do it."

Harden is hoping her long-awaited hobby will now support itself as she brought 26 paintings from her home in Texas to Minnesota where she is staying for the summer. "I hope I can sell some of it so that I can then turn around and buy more canvases," she said, adding modestly that she does it for recreation and is not a professional.

"I just really enjoy it -- it's everything I thought it'd be and more," said Harden, as she talked about her landscape paintings being much more "Minnesota inspired" than Texas terrain.

"Lots of green trees, flowers and fall foliage," she said, "I was at Art in the Park a couple of years ago and didn't see any oil paintings, so I know there's a place for me."

In fact, there are still places left for more artists and crafters to sign up.

Johnston says because there's so much space in the park, there's always room for more who still wish to sign up. She says this year there is also an increase in the amount of food vendors setting up.

"We'll have like eight or nine of them, so there will be a nice variety of food, as well," said Johnston.

Entrance to the event is free, but organizers are encouraging people to park in the high school parking lot one block away to avoid cramming up the area.

A rough "guesstimate" has around 4,000 people walking through that day, depending on the whether.

"But it will go on rain or shine," said Johnston.