Bluegrass fans and art lovers alike will find something to love about Milaca’s RecFest this weekend, July 26-28. Patrons of the arts may find more than usual to love this year, however.
Milaca Fine Arts Council, the group that organizes RecFest’s annual Art Fair, has decided to move its tents and booths from inside the event at Rec Park to its own space at Trimble Park, just up the hill.
“I didn’t feel it was fair to the art vendors that the general public was being charged the day rate for the bluegrass festival,” MAC board member Theresa Bemis said. “The general public wanted to be able to shop the art market without being charged.”
Bemis said most of the artists and vendors who have participated in past RecFests are business owners who rely on the income they generate from selling their crafts.
“It was important to me to honor that piece of it for the artisans,” she said.
The move also provides the opportunity for the local organization to feature another of Milaca’s fine parks. Trimble Park, along with quick access to the festival, a decommissioned tank and playground for children, and a convenient downtown location, is an often over-looked amenity.
“I’m counting on that to increase sales for the art vendors,” Bemis said.
While Milaca boasts four beautiful parks, Rec Park with its ball fields, playgrounds and picnic shelters, tends to receive the most attention.
“We’re trying to promote the parks in Milaca,” Bemis said. “And now, we have two parks (in the festival), and they’re side-by-side.”
The MAC plans to set up the various artists’ booths, tables and tents to make a natural flow through Trimble Park, leading customers to the east and hopefully, eventually to Rec Park and the music. Not having to compete with the food vendors and musicians for space on the banks of the Rum River, Bemis said it also opens up the opportunity for last-minute artists and vendors who would like to participate but missed early registration.
“There is room,” she said. “Now that we’re at Trimble Park, they can just show up.”
At just $20 to set up shop at the Art Market, the opportunity to earn additional income by selling one’s craft is more affordable compared to many similar sized festivals.
“The city’s been very generous with us that they’ve allowed us to keep that money,” Bemis said of the booth fee.
Back by popular demand in this year’s RecFest Art Market is Glen Kinney’s spoon art, various garden art, Cann Family Farms’ soaps and lotions, and Sara Underhill’s henna tattoo art.
New this year will be two authors, whose books will be available for purchase and signing, and a message therapist from the metro area.
In the Children’s Art Tent, kids can craft their own puppets, sculptures and the popular $1 spin art.
“That’s kind of our signature right now,” Bemis said of the peddle-operated, spinning art maker. “We can bring that everywhere we go.”
As some features are still under construction, Bemis said to “look for surprises” as well in the Children’s Art Tent.
The MAC’s Art Market will be open from noon to 8 p.m. Saturday, July 27, during RecFest. This year, it’s free to shop.