A steady stream of festival-goers, some with baby strollers or dogs, spent Saturday browsing booths of 175 vendors selling everything from watercolor paintings and handmade jewelry to colorful glass clocks complete with moving pendulums.
Several visited the booth of Marietta residents Tami and Robert Fisher to view their hand-blown glass nightlights and vases with Christmas lights sparkling inside.
Robert Fisher, who works for Honda, said the idea for the glass luminaries came about as a safer alternative to candles for the couples’ four children. Tami Fisher’s father, Dixon Townsend of California, makes the glass objects, which range from roosters to the Eiffel Tower. Robert Fisher then drills a hole in them and adds the lights, although he added he broke several before he had the technique down.
“Everybody came into the house and liked it, and it’s just blossomed from there,” Robert Fisher said, adding he and his wife travel to about 22 shows a year to sell their creations. This was their first year at Art in the Park.
At the booth dubbed the Kennesaw Woodpecker, retired school bus driver Roger Grimes, of west Cobb, and his wife, Sandra, sold “designer” cutting boards. With intricate patterns and multi-colored woods from all over the world, the functional items could easily double as a piece of art.
Roger Grimes said there was more interest in the cutting boards than the week before at the Pigs and Peaches Festival, where he and his wife only broke even.
“There’s more people, and they’re more of (the) buying crowd, too,” he said.
That crowd included Rick Maher, of Marietta.
“I just like looking at art, and I didn’t plan to buy any, and I’m coming home with a couple hundred dollars-worth,” he said with a smile. He showed off his purchases, which included a framed picture of a Waffle House restaurant for his son, who lives in Connecticut, earrings for his wife and some Christmas presents.
Festival director Carolyn Morris hopes the draw of purchasing unique gifts will bring more visitors to the Art in the Park, which runs through Monday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
“When you buy a piece of art from here, you get to learn the background from the artist, so it adds another dimension versus going to one of the box stores and just picking it up off a wall where it’s been just processed,” Morris said.
She expects 45,000 people to visit the festival, which she said has three facets: the fine arts show, the children’s Art Alley and the Chalk Spot, where school-aged kids applied their artistic talents to the sidewalk.
With the festival in its 28th year, Morris said she has no plans to stop organizing it, and she is already working on next year’s. She said her love of Marietta is what keeps her coming back every year, along with the people who come to show their work.
“It’s almost like a homecoming because many of these artists have been with me since the beginning,” Morris said.
For more information on Art in the Park, visit www.artparkmarietta.com