RICHLAND -- The warm sun coaxed scents of black cherry and jasmine from candles and lotions, and the welcome breeze made rainbow-hued suncatchers dance Friday as shoppers strolled between booths at the 60th annual Allied Arts Association's Art in the Park Show.
The free show is held under the shade trees in Howard Amon Park in Richland from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. today.
In addition to the artwork, there will be live entertainment, shows, a beer and wine garden and several food vendors. Several of the artists will be demonstrating their skills during the show.
There's lots to see whether you're just browsing, or searching for a practical key holder for the kitchen, a whimsical piece of garden art or an original piece of art as an investment.
"There's so much to see and absorb, I can't do it in one day," said Cheryl Thompson of Richland. "I come every year and look at everything on Friday, then go back on Saturday and start shopping for Christmas and birthday presents."
Shoppers will recognize many of the artists, but almost a quarter of the more than 200 artists and craftsmen at the show are new.
One newcomer is Mary Bier of Phoenix, Ariz., who does whimsical, contemporary metal sculpted paintings. She hand etches her designs -- all inspired by life and wildlife -- on aluminum, then paints them with dye.
"Every one is an original," she said. "I never do two alike."
Woodworker Bob McCray of Grants Pass, Ore., also is new to the show. He uses madrona, a wood native to Oregon, that he cuts and mills into planks himself.
"Most people use it for firewood," he said. "But it's a dense wood with a beautiful grain."
He makes children's toys, but it's his cabinets, chairs, tables and, most especially, storage chests that shouldn't be missed.
Another first-timer is Amber Raichie of Gardenville, Nev. She has candle holders in various designs which shoppers fill themselves from tubs of colored, granular wax.
Once the wax is layered in, she passes the filled holder on to her husband, Darren, who adds the wicks and fragrance, then seals the top layer of wax with a torch.
"Kids love to build their own candles," she said. "The process is very much like sand art."
Joe Watkins of Morgan, Utah, has been bringing his art to the show for several years, but it still stops shoppers dead in their tracks. He paints detailed wildlife and Native American-inspired designs on feathers using acrylics.
"Painting on feathers is an old art form from China, only they usually used parakeet feathers," he said. "I use wild turkey, peacock and ringneck pheasant feathers in mine."
Once done, Watkins frames them in a shadowbox using intricately hand-cut mats.
Another familiar booth is See Dee Graffiti from Cheney featuring handmade silver jewelry.
"This is our 35th year," said artist Teri Wilcox.
Eli Sanders of Portland also is back keeping women stylish and cool with her floral embellished hats, and Don Perry of Hood River, Ore., brought his metal sculptures.
To find your favorite artists, drop by the information booth near the main park restrooms on Lee Boulevard, and pick up a program.
The juried art show is a fundraiser for The Allied Arts Association.
"Proceeds are used for exhibits, maintenance of the existing art gallery and education wing, art scholarships, awards at juried exhibits, the country fair and other special projects," said show director Jennifer Hickman.
There also is a variety of local bands, singers and other entertainers performing during the show and plenty of good food to snack on. The food booths all are run by Mid-Columbia nonprofit groups, making the show a fundraiser for them too.
Parking & shuttles
Parking near and at the show site is limited. Your best option is to catch one of the Ben Franklin Transit shuttle buses which run from 8:30 a.m. to 7 p.m.
The buses leave from the parking lots at Fran Rish Stadium at Richland High School, from Carmichael Junior High School across from the stadium and from the Federal Building every few minutes. The drop-off and pickup point is the Richland Community Center.
Cost is $1.25 per person each way, or $3.50 each way for a family of three or more. Children 5 years and under ride free.
'Other Park Show'
To make a day of outdoor shopping, head north on George Washington Way to hit the other park show.
The 11th annual Antiques and Uniques Park Show -- The Other Park Show (formerly known as Antiques in the Park) is from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. today at the north end of Jefferson Park, across from the Uptown Shopping Center off George Washington Way in Richland.
This is an open-air event with multiple vendors selling antiques and vintage merchandise. There also will be unique regional artisans, items crafted using vintage pieces, modern uniques, arts and crafts -- everything from linens to cottage furniture.
Admission and parking are free.
-- Loretto J. Hulse: 509-582-1513; email@example.com