Art and Summer Collide in Bigfork

first_img Stay Connected with the Daily Roundup. Sign up for our newsletter and get the best of the Beacon delivered every day to your inbox. Email Summer is the busiest season in the Bigfork Village, with the sun, water and events drawing people to its streets like a grizzly bear to ripe huckleberries. This weekend, the village presents one of its most popular and important festivals. The 34th annual Bigfork Festival of the Arts takes place Aug. 4 and Aug. 5, offering patrons over 150 booths featuring artisans and craft-makers, live music and the chance to help support the village’s promotional fund. According to Donna Lawson, who co-chairs the festival’s organizational committee with Gretchen Gates, all of the proceeds from the booth and application fees go back to the Bigfork Area Chamber of Commerce’s marketing fund. Last year’s festival garnered about $18,000 for advertising, Lawson said. Bruce Solberg of the chamber said it is a “very important festival” for the lakeside town.“It has been our entire advertising budget … to promote Bigfork for the following year,” Solberg said. With roughly 6,000 people packing the streets over both days of the art festival in previous years, it’s also a boon to the local businesses lining those streets. Last year, festival organizers decided to put the booths in the middle of the street instead of on the side, allowing better flow in and out of the business doors.It worked extremely well, both Lawson and Solberg said. Solberg credited Bigfork Fire Department Chief Wayne Loeffler with helping the festival maintain a high level of safety while still reconfiguring the stalls.Without him, the committee and the chamber would not have been able to make the more accessible pattern a reality, Solberg said. “The streets are just packed, both days,” Solberg said. “The new configuration that we have worked out so well for everybody.”Lawson said there would be a few changes in the festival this year. There will be food vendors as in previous years, but a new lineup brings some variety this summer.Patrons will also find that they recognize many of the artists and craftsmen in the booths, but they will also discover that 30 percent of the booths contain new goods this year. The booths will have local creations, as well as those from across the state and even across the United States.“We have vendors this year from Florida all the way to Washington,” Lawson said. “It’s pretty amazing.”And the presence of at least one Canadian vendor technically makes it an international festival, she said with a laugh. There is no entry fee to the festival, though there will be several nonprofits promoting their causes. The Crown of the Continent Guitar Foundation will be there selling tickets to its late-August workshop and concerts, Lawson said, and the Rotary Club of Bigfork will be selling tickets to its Aug. 11 Hoedown and a bike raffle.Performers from the Bigfork Children’s Theater will also be on hand to entertain patrons, and other live entertainment happens hourly from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.Even the clean-up phase is a little different this year, Lawson said, with the kids from the Youth Coalition, formerly known as LEAP, helping get the streets back to normal.Lawson said the Community Foundation for a Better Bigfork gave the program scholarship funds in exchange for the kids’ help, which benefits the festival organizers and gives the children a sense of responsibility for their community.last_img read more