An estimated 45,000 people are expected to head to Howard Amon Park this weekend for the 69th annual Art in the Park festival.
The Richland art event of the year always coincides with the first two days of the Water Follies hydroplane races on the Columbia River but offers a very different outdoor experience.
With live entertainment, food vendors and items made by hundreds of Northwest artists, it ranks as one of the 200 best art shows in the nation.
Plus, it’s free.
The show is open 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Friday, July 26, and 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday, July 27.
Catch the shuttle
There is limited parking, so consider taking advantage of the free Benton Franklin Transit shuttles to and from the park.
Park your car at Fran Rish Stadium, 1350 Lee Blvd., to catch a ride to Howard Amon. The shuttle stops at the Knight Street Transit Center, John Dam Plaza and at the entrance to the park.
It runs 8:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. Friday and 8:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. Saturday. Shuttles will leave every 15 minutes.
Rides are by donation and will benefit the local YMCA.
Friday’s performers are Trinity Martial Arts Academy, Elite Force Cheer, Mid Columbia Musical Theater, Leading Tones and the Sultana Dancers.
Saturday will host the Hanford High Fame Camp, Bram Brata, the Mid Columbia Ballet, the Mid Columbia Symphony and Mystic Mirage.
If you’re looking for a specific art vendor, they will be listed in the programs at the festival.
Food and drinks
Concession stands will be on the north end of the park, and will be run by local nonprofits as a way to raise money for their organizations.
A local favorite, the alder-cooked Yukon River salmon fillets from the Richland Rod and Gun Club and Columbia Basin Fly Casters, will be on sale for a 35th year.
The forecast for this weekend predicts a hot and sunny couple of days, with highs of 98 on Friday and 92 on Saturday.
Should it get too hot, the Gallery at the Park building is across the street from the park and will be open all the same hours as the festival.
Lost and found items also will be taken to that building at 89 Lee Blvd.
Began in the 1950
Art in the Park is organized by the Allied Arts Association, a nonprofit dedicated to fostering art in the Tri-Cities.
In 1950, the wives of Hanford workers who were interested in art started a small showing of artworks, said Bob Allen, the publicity chairman and former president of Allied Arts.
It was called the “Clothesline Show,” since the artists hung their art up with clothespins in the alleys of the Uptown mall.
Art in the Park as we know it today did not exist until later, when they moved it to Howard Amon and changed the name.