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Afton Art in the Park will be this weekend, Sept. 22-23, in Afton's Old Village. The weekend will include art vendors, a business fair, food vendors, a kids art corner, a pet stop, live music and dance demonstrations.

Afton Art in the Park event to be held this weekend

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The cooling air and the falling leaves can only mean one thing - it's time for Afton Art in the Park.

The 34th Annual Art in the Park, sponsored by the Afton Area Business Association, will be this weekend, Sept. 22.-23, in Afton's Old Village.

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During the event, roughly 70 to 80 art vendors will be set up in and around Afton's Town Square Park selling a variety of items including jewelry, stained glass, photography, lawn art, painting, clothing, purses, doll clothes, hair accessories and garden art.

"We've got a few really unique photographers," said Kathy Jarvis, one of the event organizers.

Deb Larson, one of the organizers for the event, said several of this year's vendors will have "refurbished," or recycled, art.

"Some are taking sweaters and recycling them into mittens," she said.

Also occurring during this year's event will be the business fair, which will include home remodelers, chiropractors and home businesses.

"We added a larger element to the business fair this year," Jarvis said, "because that's a nice attraction too."

Larson said Mrs. Meyer's Clean Day will also have a cleaning station set up during the weekend where visitors can try out environmentally friendly products.

"That'll be great, especially after eating those sticky mini donuts," she said.

Food vendors at this year's Art in the Park will include tacos, gyros, mini donuts, Chinese, roasted nuts, corn dogs and gluten free options.

"It's diverse," Larson said.

There will also be live music both days; Kenzie Joy will perform Saturday from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., Amy and Adams will perform from 1-4 p.m. and Patchouli will perform Sunday from noon to 3 p.m.

This year's Art in the Park will also bring with it a few new elements.

One new element that will be at this year's Art in the Park is the "Kids Art Corner," which will have children-friendly activities taking place at the picnic shelter throughout the weekend.

Woodbury LearningRx will be sponsoring the free crafts.

Additionally, a Girl Scouts of America troop will be doing crafts as well.

"The crafts are very nature inspired," Larson said. "They'll have all of the materials there. A lot of the event is focused on nature so it just made a lot of sense to tie in the art."

The Kids Art Corner will also be offering "fair hair" and face painting for a minimal cost.

Another attraction at the Kids Art Corner will be Charlie Johnson, who owns Whistling Well Farm, in Denmark Township, who will be there promoting his new children's book about his dog Emmy.

Johnson will be doing drawing with the children, inspired by the book, and children will be able to meet Emmy.

"We obviously want to reach families and most of the event is geared towards adults," Larson said, "so, people can bring their kids and still enjoy all the adult things too."

A second new element at this year's Art in the Park will be a "Pet Stop," where pet beds, water bowls and treats will be on hand for pets to enjoy.

"I've just been thrilled with all the dogs that come to the event," Larson said. "A lot of people bring their dogs to the event ... so we thought it would be nice to do something for the pets."

Another new element to this year's Art in the Park will be swing dance and salsa demonstrations and group lessons by Arthur Murray on Sunday starting at 3:15 p.m.

Lastly, Art in the Park will be receiving a bit of a kick off during the monthly Ultimate Girls Night Out.

During the event, Squire House Gardens will host a "pop up art fair" on its lawn, featuring local artists. Additionally, Afton shops will feature a prize drawing for unique art-inspired prizes, donated by Art in the Park vendors.

Larson and Jarvis said they are optimistic about this year's event.

"The attendance has been growing steadily, and pretty dramatically, every year," Larson said. "We just want to keep adding to it and keeping it fresh."

Afton Art in the Park will be Saturday, Sept. 22, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday, Sept. 23, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. For a full schedule of events and a list of vendors visit www.aftonartfair.com.

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Amber Kispert-Smith
Amber Kispert-Smith has been the schools and Afton reporter at the Woodbury Bulletin since 2008. She holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Minnesota. She previously worked as a reporter for Press Publications in White Bear Lake.
(651) 702-0976
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