Windsor

Art in the Park 'best I've ever seen it,' vendor says after annual Windsor event's return

Both vendors and attendees were happy to have Art in the Park back after a two-year pause on the major Windsor event.

Charity event, which started in 1970s, was cancelled during the pandemic

Art in the Park returns

2 months ago
Duration 2:14
Art in the Park is back after being cancelled the past couple of years due to COVID. Vendors are happy to have the venue back to show off their wares and make some sales.

There were big crowds and vendors new and old at Willistead Park over the weekend as Art in the Park came back after a two-year pause.

"It was the best I've ever seen it," said Jodi Green, owner of Levigator Press.

Art in the Park is an annual event in the Walkerville neighbourhood of Windsor, Ont. The Rotary Club of Windsor has been running the charity event every summer back to the 1970s. It was cancelled the past two years because of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Green said she had shut down her Walkerville shop just before the pandemic began and had planned on just attending shows full time. 

"It's been tough the last couple of years," Green said. "You can't really sell art, you know, if people can't touch it and see it."

Green said it's her first show back and it's been going quite well. 

Jodi Green, owner of Levigator Press, says Art in the Park is her first showing since the pandemic began and that business went quite well at the event. (Jacob Barker/CBC)

"People are having a great time, they're buying.... Everybody's happy, it's hugs all around. Money is flying." 

Allan Kidd, the co-chair of Art in the Park 2022, said he couldn't be certain of the numbers Sunday afternoon but expected there would be over 25,000 attendees by the time the final count is in.

"It's always the weather that drives the attendance," Kidd said. "But the other obvious thing is that people have been shut in for so long they're just aching to get out and our event is one of the first, really, that kicks off in Windsor." 

The event had about 230 art exhibitors and 15 food and beverage vendors, organizers said.

This year was artist Kelsey Auger's first time at the event. She said she had some good sales and would definitely come back.

"I had enough work put together to fill a booth," she said. "I would have done it before but this seemed like the perfect year to kind of get into it.

It's artist Kelsey Auger's first Art in the Park and she says it drives interest in her art and she plans to get a booth again in the future. (Jacob Barker/CBC)

"I think seeing me doing some painting too, it really makes that connection with the art."

New faces

Kidd said this year's event saw some new faces, but not all of the old ones.

"We've got many new vendors because the artist community has suffered through the pandemic," he said.

"We lost some of the people we would expect to see but they were eagerly replaced with new people that wanted a shot." 

For Justin Renaud and Keenan Moore of Southwest Shores, which makes Windsor-inspired apparel, it was their first event in over two years and their first time at Art in the Park. 

"It's been very important for us to get these events going again and I think if you ask any other exhibitors and vendors too it just helps get the exposure out, get the word out," Renaud said. "This is probably one of the busier events, markets in the city all summer." 

Justin Renaud and Keenan Moore's company Southwest Shores sells Windsor-inspired apparel. Renaud says events like Art in the Park are important for small businesses to get exposure. (Jacob Barker/CBC)

Grace Beaulieu attended the event with Christian Almeida and bought a planter's pot for her mother.

"It's really cute," she said. 

They had been at the Art in the Park pre-COVID and said it was good to have the event back.

"It's a vibe for sure," Almeida said. "It's nice to see all the creative pieces being shown out here and just being able to support all these locals.

"This brings the community together and it's nice to have these types of things, especially for Windsor."

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