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Afton art draws crowds to the park

Resident from in and around the St. Croix Valley filled up Afton Town Square Park Saturday and Sunday for the "Art in the Park" event. More than 50 vendors displayed their artwork and goods. Staff photo by Amber Kispert.

Afton Town Square Park was alive with art and fun last weekend, Sept. 26-27, for the 31st annual Afton Art in the Park.

Around 50 vendors, selling products ranging from homemade jellies and jams to jewelry to metal work to paintings, were on hand for the hundreds of people to walk around and enjoy.

One vendor, Simply Nuts & More from excelsior, has been participating every year at the event because of the beautiful community and the fun atmosphere, said owner Sheila Johnston.

"We've been coming every year," Johnston said. "People know us and we have plenty of people tell us that they come specifically for us."

Since Afton Art in the Park lost its partnership with the Phipps Center for the Arts, organizers had to recruit many new vendors since many went with the Phipps to a new festival the same weekend. But Simply Nuts enjoys Afton, so they kept coming back, Johnston said.

This year's Afton Art in the Park also offered live music in the gazebo and the MG Car Club Show along the boulevards.

One couple in attendance on Saturday, Marylis and Francis Oehlke of Woodbury, have been coming off and on for the past 20 years because of the wide variety of vendors, in attendance, especially those selling jewelry, and the peaceful environment.

"It's just so peaceful and nice down here in Afton," Marylis said. "And the music is excellent this year."

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.

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