More than 260 artists, including 40 new exhibitors, are gearing up for the 39th annual Art in the Park, which is set for June 3 and 4 at Willistead Park.

"Art in the Park is traditionally known as the unofficial start of summer and we're happy to have that honour," said Colleen Mitchell, chair of the organizing committee.

Mitchell touted this year's event wearing sunglasses and holding an umbrella — an award-winning promotional gimmick embraced because of the festival's reputation for attracting rain. 

"We're prepared for rain but we're optimistically hopeful that we will have lots of sun," said Mitchell.

Thousands of visitors tour park

About 22,000 paid patrons strolled through the park last year. That figure doesn't count those under 12, who enjoy the festival for free. 

A portion of the proceeds go towards the upkeep of Willistead Manor and about $1.3 million has been directed there through the years. Funds also flow through Rotary Club of Windsor (1918), which then distributes money to various causes.

"It allows us to do other good works in the community," said Mitchell.

Parking is a challenge every year so Mitchell encouraged festival goers to use the shuttle or to ride their bikes and take advantage of the bike valet service, which is staffed by volunteers with Bike-Windsor Essex. 

Art in the Park is open on Saturday, June 3 from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. and on Sunday, June 4 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Tickets are $5 at the gate. Advance tickets available at Shoppers Drug Mart and Snapd Windsor are $4.