Leo Atkinson, far left, works with his son Dusty and daughter Siara to crack a geode at their Steamboat Springs shop. The family has been cracking geodes at Art in the Park for the past 10 years.

Photo by John F. Russell

Leo Atkinson, far left, works with his son Dusty and daughter Siara to crack a geode at their Steamboat Springs shop. The family has been cracking geodes at Art in the Park for the past 10 years.

Steamboat's Art in the Park returns for 39th year

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Longtime local artist Leo Atkinson works on a piece for this year's Art in the Park, which begins Saturday.

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Leo Atkinson, far left, works with his son Dusty and daughter Siara to crack a geode at their Steamboat Springs shop. The family has been cracking geodes at Art in the Park for the past 10 years.

— The first memory of Art in the Park for Dusty Atkinson doesn’t involve the art that has brought his family to the annual festival for two decades.

“I remember I wasn’t there working,” the 26-year-old said. “I can specifically remember being super excited about the snow cones and food. Then when I started working it, I remember being in awe.”

As Art in the Park turns 39 this weekend, this year’s event will mark the 20th year the the Atkinsons — Dusty, his father Leo and sister Siara — have been to the festival.

For the past 10 years, they’ve been popping geodes as a family.

“It’s so much fun working with my kids,” Leo said. “It’s one of the big perks of the job.”

The event runs from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday in West Lincoln Park.

The long-running fair is a fundraiser for the Steamboat Springs Arts Council to help support its visual arts programs as well as the Young at Art summer arts camps.

Everything from photography and clothing to woodworking and ceramics will be available.

The event is free, but donation bins are set up around the event. Performances from jugglers and belly dancers will entertain the crowds.

This year, there are more than 160 vendors up from 130 last year.

The funds “mostly go to upcoming visual arts and performing arts,” said Park Myers, the artistic director for the Arts Council. “It definitely allows us to do more in the community. We also enjoy putting on something for visitors and the city.”

For the past 20 years, part of the entertainment has been the Atkinsons. For Dusty and Siara, rocks were always part of life. The two grew up around it, lived it and now are helping their father carry on the tradition.

Siara and Leo do 17 shows during the summer and fall, and Dusty joins in on a few.

If Clark Griswold taught us anything, being on the road with family is never easy.

“We can butt heads. I have my way, and he has his way,” Dusty said before Leo interjected: “And Siara has her way.”

But the trio doesn’t regret anything. As the three put the finishing touches on geodes and statues Thursday at their workshop, the kinship was apparent.

This isn’t a job; it’s more quality time.

“It’s just a treat,” said Siara, 24. “Art in the Park is special. It’s special the three of us get to work together. It’s such a unique job.”

To reach Luke Graham, call 970-871-4229 or email lgraham@SteamboatToday.com

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