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Front Page » August 16, 2007 » Arts and Recreation Focus » Recreate at the Festival
Published 2,682 days ago

Recreate at the Festival


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By RICHARD SHAW
Sun Advocate publisher

Crowds of people mill through the vendor's booth on Helper's Main Street during the 2006 festival.

When the Helper Arts Festival began in the fall 13 years ago the future was cloudy.

Some in the county had high hopes for the resurrection of Helper as an art destination, and consequently an ever growing yearly festival.

Others thought it would be a flash in the pan, lasting a couple of years at best.

But here it is, 13 years later and the festival has had it's great years and it's not so good years. It has had years where the weather was hot and sunny and others when it was cool and wet. Some art vendors have spent many years on the streets of late August and early September, watching the crowds grow big, then small, then big again.

Like all events, the Helper Arts and Music Festival as it is known beginning this year, has been at the mercy of many things; the economy of the area, the competition of other events on the weekend it is held and of course, the weather.

The festival is definitely dependent on those summer thunderstorms, or should it be said on the lack of them.

The weather at this point is predicted to be just about right by the time outside public events begin to happen on Friday afternoon. Highs in the 90's and no rain.

Up until a few years ago the festival was held in September, but two years of big rains drove the committee members at the time to move it back into August, usually the weekend before school starts.

This year as usual, most of the events will be held on Main Street with that street being closed to motorized traffic on Friday at noon and not opened again until late Sunday afternoon.

The first real event will begin early on Thursday morning as artists will stream into town to enter the Plein Air Competition. That event has become a hallmark of this festival and once again will attract artists from all over the west and some other places as well. Plein Air means outdoor painting but this competition has more of a twist to it than that. The painting must be original for this competition, and that is guaranteed because the artists bring their medium to the check-in and it has to be marked so that officials know it was painted during the competition and not before. Art work is due on Friday. Then it is displayed on Saturday and Sunday.

A Sculpture Slap competition will run through Saturday to 3 p.m. on Main Street. In this competition, sculptors create right on the spot and the public can watch.

A crowd waits for more entertainment during the Sunday afternoon show at the 2006 Helper Arts Festival.

Another special art feature is the art demonstrations that will be going on during the festival. Included in those venues are David Dornan demonstrating studio painting, on site portraits by Paul Davis, painting by Ben Steele, sculpture by Sylvia Davis and Ryan Peterson.

There will also be a place for kids to produce art. The festival offers a Childrens Art Yard which is located right across from city hall in the Farmers Market area. All kinds of fun things go on there including face painting, crafts, water colors, rock art and making head bands/visors.

The entertainment at the festival this year will encompass many kinds of music, everything from rock and country to jazz. Bands begin playing in the Main Street Park at 3 p.m. on Friday and wind up late on Sunday afternoon. Many local bands are included in the entertainment, interspersed with out-of-area talent.

New last year and continuing this year is the Helper Idol competition. Last year the show was great, and based on the preliminaries that were held at the Carbon County Fair last week, this year will be just as good.

The festival will also have a car and motorcycle show on part of Main Street as has been done for the last two years.

The 5K run will also begin on Saturday at 8:30 a.m. in Spring Canyon and ends at the Helper Main Street park.

The Price Area Singletrack Society will also be holding a bike ride in conjunction with the festival as well. The PASS ride will begin at 8 a.m. in Price at Pioneer Park. The streets will be filled with vendors for all three days of the event. The art being sold will include leather work, rock art, 3D art, watercolors, oils, pottery, ceramics, photography, pastels and metal art.

Around the Main Street park will be the food vendors who will sell many kinds of food including Hawaiian, Greek, Navajo Tacos, funnel cakes, BBQ, cotton candy and much more.

For the adults, the beer garden will also be another feature that is always popular.

As visitors to the Helper Arts and Music Festival patrol the streets they should also take note of the many merchants on the street that will be open. Also featured along the route are antique shops and if the food in the park isn't enough for there are also restaurants on Main Street that can treat the tummy of anyone.

Many other activities will be taking place from Thursday through Sunday, but most of all the events will not only highlight artists from near and far, but will bring the people of the area together for a final celebration of summer and culture.


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