Windsor’s Art in the Park weekend draws huge crowds

Windsor’s Art in the Park weekend draws huge crowds

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Organizers of this year’s Art in the Park are crunching the numbers but believe Saturday set a new one-day attendance record.

“Yesterday was huge,” event co-chairman Allan Kidd said Sunday. “We did 30,000 over the weekend in the past, not including the kids that are free.

“I gotta think we’re close to a one-day record yesterday.”

Blue skies and warm temperatures — plus the threat of rain overnight into Sunday — drew thousands of visitors to the grounds of Willistead Manor for the (1918) Rotary Club of Windsor’s 45th annual outdoor arts and craft show.

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Kidd was kept busy filling in muddy puddles with mulch after a bit of rain early Sunday morning as the show’s 300 artisans from across Ontario and Quebec were busy hawking their wares.

“We’ve got an excellent turnout considering,” Kidd told the Windsor Star. “Precipitation will affect our attendance by about 50 per cent on a bad day. But I’m seeing a great crowd out there right now.”

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Harrow artist Carolane Barrows, right, speaks with Dale Quigley and Jennifer Cassidy in her booth at Art in the Park on Sunday, June 2, 2024. JULIE KOTSIS/Windsor Star Photo by Julie Kotsis /Windsor Star

Dale Quigley and Jennifer Cassidy strolled the Willistead grounds Sunday looking for unique pieces.

“It’s amazing seeing all the local artists and all the creative stuff that everybody does,” Quigley said. “It’s so nice. Events like this makes it so much easier for (the artists and craftspeople) to display (their work).”

The couple stopped and chatted with Carolane Barrows, an artist from Harrow who was selling her paintings created with a fluid technique that mixes acrylic paint on a variety of backgrounds — from metal to canvas to wood to glass and slate.

“I started with abstract art and then I just grew,’ said Barrows, who began creating her artwork three years ago, moving from abstract to landscape to wildlife themes.

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She said the process takes weeks — with several weeks of drying time between coats of paint.

“It’s just not something that I plan for,” she said. “So whatever comes up, everything (comes together).”

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Artist Daniel Bombardier from Enjoy Denial does live painting on his Whateverland display at Art in the Park on Sunday, June 2, 2024. Photo by Julie Kotsis /Windsor Star

Windsor artist Daniel Bombardier from Enjoy Denial was busy live-painting on his booth, which he called Whateverland.

“It’s like an artistic land where all your dreams come true,” said Bombardier, whose large mural works adorn walls and surfaces across the city. “I’m just kind of having fun and showing people what we do.”

On Saturday, he had about 100 kids join him to learn about the graffiti-style of spray paint art.

“They tagged their names on the display,” he said. “Just introducing them how to be safe with paint and do it the right way.”

Kidd has been a part of Art in the Park since he was a tween.

“I love it,” he said. “I’ve been doing this since I was 12 years old.

“I got a slice of pizza and a coke to come and pick up garbage. So I fell in love with Art in the Park when I was just a kid.”

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Rotary’s partnership with the City of Windsor, which owns the venue, means “a significant amount of what we raise comes back to restore the manor and the grounds,” Kidd said.

“We do a great job of destroying it over the weekend. It can be quite a mess.”

Eighty Rotary members and an “army of volunteers” make the event a success year after year.

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Claudia Deluca offers an icy cold lemonade to patrons at Art in the Park on Sunday Photo by Julie Kotsis /Windsor Star

The rest of the proceeds go towards the club’s charity work.

“So I always tell the attendees and the vendors, I’m buying wheelchairs but it’s your money,” Kidd said.

“Everybody that pays their seven or eight bucks to come in, they’re a philanthropist. I want them to know that they’re part of it.”

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Visitors crowd into Willistead Park for Art in the Park on Sunday, June 2, 2024, the second day of the popular annual Windsor event. Photo by Julie Kotsis /Windsor Star

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