The hot sun coaxed scents of citrus, lavender and lemongrass from soaps and candles, and the welcome breeze off the Columbia River made glass suncatchers sparkle Friday as shoppers browsed through the booths at the 62nd annual Allied Arts Association's Art in the Park show.
The show continues from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. today. Admission is free.
Whether you're looking for a unique, handmade jewelry box or a large format photo of the Hanford Reach for the living room or office, you'll find it at the show.
"I come every year I can," said Carol Volkman of Richland. Even though the show had only been open 45 minutes, she'd already visited a favorite pottery vendor, Clay in Motion, from Milton-Freewater.
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"I bought two big pieces -- a plate with indentations to hold hard boiled eggs and a casserole. I have lots of their pottery in three different color combinations that all blend together. I just love it," she said.
Volkman didn't have them with her, though. She did what many shoppers who buy large, heavy objects do -- she had the vendor stash it away for pick-up later.
Anyone who's attended past shows will find many artists they recognize among the more than 200 attending, including pianist Gary Jess of Federal Way.
"I've got to have that one too," said Robin Crook of Kennewick picking up a copy of his latest CD, Day Dreams. "I have all 20 of his CDs and play them constantly. I find Gary's music very soothing."
Other returning artists are Lonnie and Nora Schneider of Mabton. They've been bringing their whimsical country bird houses, dried floral arrangements, oversized 3-D sunflowers and garden decor to the show for 28 years.
"We use recycled materials as much as possible," Nora Schneider said, picking up a brightly painted butterfly sculpture. "The wood in this came from an old barn someone was tearing down."
Recycling is popular among the craftsmen at the show. John Glasser of Ryderwood, turns empty soda, wine, beer and liquor bottles into wind chimes, candle holders, vases and even lamps. No, he doesn't empty them all, but collects them from businesses in town.
"I've made, 'Save the world one bottle at a time,' my mission statement," he said.
His wind chimes, made from pieces of several bottles all strung together with fishing line, are sturdier than you'd think.
"They all move together in the wind so they don't break unless they hit something. Just hang them away from walls," he said.
One of the 35 to 40 artists new to the show are Monica and Dale Archer of Heron, Mont. They collect driftwood as they walk along their nearby Clark Fork River. Later they carve and assemble them into imaginative, humorous, unique wall hangings and statues with a country/cowboy flair.
One is a 5-foot cowboy holding his playing cards in one hand, while the other, behind his back, holds a derringer.
"He is looking for that other ace," she said. "Our mission is to make people smile. I love it when people see the humor in our pieces."
To find out if your favorite artists are at the show, drop by the information booth near the main park restrooms on Lee Boulevard and pick up a program.
"We make an effort to put returning artists in the same area from year to year but sometimes we're forced by circumstances, or their requests, to give them a new booth," said show chairwoman Jennifer Hickman. "The program is the best way to track them down."
The juried art show is a fundraiser for the Allied Arts Association.
"Proceeds, which can be as much as $60,000, are used to fund exhibits, teachers and classes, maintenance of the art gallery and education wing, art scholarships, awards at juried exhibits, the county fair and other special projects," Hickman said.
Food booths are scattered throughout the show grounds with the majority of sandwich and entree vendors grouped at the north end by the fingernail stage. The food booths are all run by Mid-Columbia nonprofits, making the show a fundraiser for them too.
Parking and shuttles
Parking near and at the show site is limited and the George Washington Way paving project makes driving that section of Richland tricky.
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. today. The buses leave from the parking lots at Fran Rish Stadium at Richland High School, 930 Long Ave., and from Carmichael Middle School, 620 Thayer Drive. There's no charge to leave your vehicle. The drop-off and pick-up point is the Richland Community Center in the park.
Cost is $1.50 per person, one way, or $4 for a family of five one way.
Just down the street from Art in the Park, on George Washington Way, is an antique show. It runs from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at John Dam Plaza, Richland.