Inaugural summer arts and crafts festival this Saturday

Vendors, artists and businesses from across the Midwest will descend on South Park this Saturday to sell food, arts and crafts from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. for the first ever Summer Arts and Crafts Festival, hosted by the Lawrence Parks and Recreation Department.

Special events supervisor Duane Peterson says the department hosts four arts festivals every year, with one in the fall and spring and two during the winter, but it has never held a summer festival. The success if the first summer event will determine whether it will be an annual event.

Peterson isn’t concerned about this weekend’s downtown events overlapping — events in conjunction with the Free State Festival will be scattered throughout downtown Lawrence on Saturday — and is expecting a good turnout. The special events division wanted to find a date during the height of the summer season while beating the intense heat expected in July.

“There’s a lot going on this weekend, but that’s one of the reasons we chose it,” he says. “The crowds will already be down there. We don’t think it will be a negative factor at all.”

Four bands will also perform at The William Kelly Bandstand, each with an hour-long set, starting at 1 p.m.: Rural Harmony, The Beer Bellies, Good Ole Boys and Sideways Glance.

Food vendors will sell funnel cakes, ribbons fries, authentic New York Italian Ice, steak burgers, hot dogs and onions blossoms, to name a few items.

Some artists will travel from New Mexico, Missouri, Nebraska, and of course, all over Kansas, Peterson says. Items for sale include handmade tie-dye shirts, dresses, beaded towels, tissue-paper flowers, handmade blank books, and handcrafted banana leaf baskets.

“It will be a full day of things for the people of Lawrence to go to,” he says.

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