It’s all about the arts

Published 7:05 am Monday, August 31, 2009

It brought back memories for Doris Hargis.

As a child, the Austin resident used to frequent Bandshell Park and listen to the Sunday night entertainment.

“We didn’t have TV way back then, see,” she said, while tapping her feet to the music.

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Hargis was in attendance at the first-ever Austin Arts in the Park event Sunday at Bandshell, which featured eight hours of non-stop entertainment and more than two dozen food and arts vendors.

She enjoyed the 17-piece Austin Big Band in particular, which played from 2 to 3 p.m. and includes her niece on bass and her grandson on drums.

“These guys sound pretty good,” she said.

Sunday’s festivities were the joint-creation of Sue Radloff and Karen Sundal, who originally planned to host a simple music concert at the end of summer.

“It was just going to be music,” Radloff said. “But then we added art. And then we added dance. And then we added storytelling and drama. And that’s why we had to have it here, because of all of the variety of things.”

The free event, which was put together in six weeks, also included booths from local non-profit organizations as a way to introduce those causes to the community.

Participants included everything from The Paramount Theatre to the Girl Scouts of America to Andrew Esse, who was trying to raise money to buy a car.

The incoming sophomore and his grandmother, Linda Esse, both of Albert Lea, have been making mosaics that are grouted in their own glass box and then lit with Christmas lights. Out of the four dozen they’ve made since April 20, they’ve sold about a dozen at $35 a piece.

“It would have been cheaper to have just given him the money,” Linda Esse said.

Other booths included the artwork of Linda Draper and Barb Cafourek. Cafourek specializes in pottery, jewelry and painting, while Draper works with sculpting, painting and drawing and is also a member of the Arts in the Park planning committee.

“I think it’s wonderful,” she said of the event. “It has come off way better than I hoped. It was a lot of work, but it was worth it.”

While the Bandshell Stage brought a variety of dance and music, the Pavilion Stage offered readings and storytelling, including Kevin Kestner, who spoke about growing up on an Austin farm.

“I got my storytelling ability from my second grade teacher,” he said. “I never had anything to bring to show and tell so I always had to tell something. I’ve been telling stories ever since.”

Organizers said they were pleased with Sunday’s event, and Hargis said she enjoyed it too.

“I think it’s great,” she said.