A mélange of forms take over the 40th annual Art in the Park | SteamboatToday.com

A mélange of forms take over the 40th annual Art in the Park

— Bringing artisans and tourists from all across the country and abroad, art comes in a mélange of colorful forms at the 40th annual Art in the Park.

Shaping the culture with the passing of each year the event is held, the Steamboat Springs Arts Council's annual festival continues to pique the interest of locals and tourists alike. This year, more than 150 vendors are in attendance, with more than 20 categories of art forms represented.

There also was live entertainment, food vendors and an interactive kids area to provide something for everyone. The event continues from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday.

For those new and seasoned vendors and attendees, one thing remains the same: What makes the event memorable is the people.

"I love Steamboat and the people that are here," said artisan Cyndi Buck, from Cyndi Buck Design, as she was buzzing about her tent helping customers find the perfect skirt or top. "You really end up with friends because people come every year and always seek you out to tell you about whatever they bought the year before. You grow to become friends with the people. That's a really fun part of this town."

Rain or shine, Buck said that during the 15 years she has been a vendor for the event, the attendees never sway due to weather. They always find a way to get to Art in the Park. On Saturday, with the menacing clouds overhead, a few raindrops didn't drive many people away.

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For newcomers to Steamboat and Art in the Park, Gazza and Heidi Dowling moved to town from Australia and have been immensely happy with their decision. The Dowlings were there selling their Agate Sandles, which are handcrafted candles made from sand with a stone.

Attending a number of other outdoor markets and festivals, the two remarked about the unmatched quality that comes with the craft of handmade items.

“These types of markets are great because I think people are more interested in crafts and handmade stuff," Dowling said. "They are not interested in something from China or mass-produced stuff. It's really about the time and effort the artists have put into each item as they create it."

Although Steamboat has a multitude of shops where people can buy gifts or memorable trinkets, there is something about purchasing a one-of-a-kind gift that brings with it a curious yet captivating charm.

"People like to come out to this event because it's a lot like Christmas shopping," Dowling said. “They can come out here and get their special gifts and have something up their sleeve, something unique and different."

Even local resident Anna Lee-Lipman said she waited for this event just to find that special something for her friends and family.

"There is a range of prices, and you can always find reasonably priced items and the more high-end items to always find what you are looking for," said Lee-Lipman's friend, Pam Kuchenmeister.

Noting that an event such as Art in the Park has the ability to enrich the community and brand Steamboat as an artistic community, Kuchenmeister and Lee-Lipman agreed that it's good all around for the economy and the people who thrive in it.

"With events such as this, Steamboat becomes more known for its art market and not just a ski and bike town, but one that has cultural events like this for all kinds of art," Lee-Lipman said.

To reach Audrey Dwyer, call 970-871-4229, email adwyer@ExploreSteamboat.com or follow her on Twitter @Audrey_Dwyer1