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Riverside Art Festival Takes to the Street

Annual art festival expands from Wenona Park onto Water Street

June 10, 2007       Leave a Comment
By: Stephen Kent

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Lawn art by Marlene Cole of Flint

The annual Riverside Art Festival took flight and expanded out of the familiar trees and grass of Wenona Park as it spread down Water Street from the park to the Antique Center. All of the familiar artist returned plus some new ones. "It's a very positive move" said Charlie Schwartz, local clay artist and teacher at Studio 23 . "There are more vendors and an awful lot of people!"

Anita Bowden, director of the YWCA, which sponsors the event, said "this is our biggest weekend ever. There are more people and everyone seems pleased." Bowden and several others mentioned that being on the street provides much better access for wheelchairs and baby strollers. Some folks missed the shade of the park and the grass for kids to run on, but most were happy with the shopping experience. Bowden also noted that the store and restaurant owners on Water Street were very pleased with their increased traffic.

Most artists were very happy with the move. "This is my 6th year" said Jeff Ward, owner of Ward Studio in Bay City. "It's the best year yet." Marlene Cole was in the park under the trees but the organizers made sure that her sparkling lawn art had its place in the sun. "The promoters do a great job. We love this show" she said.

7138 The area around the fountain was a favorite of the kids. Some just cooled their feet in the water while others listened to musicians and other performers.

Studio 23 teamed up with the United Way to sponsor "Slop Glop and Mop" kids finger painting booth. Linda Cassar of Studio 23 said the program is part of the United Way's "Every Child is Born Learning" program. "We're catering to preschoolers in our booth" she said, "but everybody is welcome to join the fun."

7162 Kristin (6) and Katelyn (3) show off their art. 7163 Nicholas (3) just can't wait to get fingers in paint!

7214 Stacy Taylor is a regular in Bay City. She and her husband Mark ("The Jewelry People") do some 13 shows a year traveling throughout Michigan and as far as Chicago. "This is one of our best shows. Maybe 80% of our sales are from repeat customers who come to see us each year. They bring their sisters and cousins and friends. It's great." Taylor also like having the festival in the street. "It's a little hotter than being in the park, but there's more room for people to walk and see it all."

7181 Three and a half year old Tyler wanted dolphins to hang in a window.
7215 7222
From live bonsai to wooden flowers, the Riverside Art Festival has something for everyone!

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Stephen Kent

Steve Kent and his family have lived in Bay City for 40 years. He is VP of Technical Services at MMCC which produces MyBayCity.Com. Kent is active in many Bay City civic organizations.

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