A busy Fourth of July week ended Sunday with a smaller turnout than some years for Arts in the Park in Brainerd.
Nancy Cross, director of Community Action, estimated that 15,000 to 18,000 people strolled through Gregory Park during the day, attracted by 140 arts and crafts and a dozen food vendors, a climbing wall, live music performances and a collection of antique cars.
The 28th annual installment of Arts in the Park wrapped up this year's weeklong July 4th Celebration, which included street dances, a parade, a Steppenwolf concert, and, of course, Thursday night's fireworks extravaganza.
Community Action, which sponsors many of the week's activities, budgeted $70,000 for this year's celebration, the most ever and $10,000 more than last year's, said Cross. The budget included $15,000 for pyrotechnics and $26,000 for the Steppenwolf performance at Brainerd High School's football field.
Cross conceded that turnout at Sunday's Arts in the Park may have been down from previous years' because it fell after rather than before the July 4th parade and fireworks display.
"Perhaps people just wanted a breather," Cross said. "Maybe by Sunday they were overdosed on July 4th.
"But we wouldn't have done anything different," she said. "The entire week was great, and our art and food vendors say they still had good sales and were happy. I think it worked out really well and was a great conclusion to the Fourth of July week."
A juried event, Arts in the Park featured 140 individual artists and crafters from across the Upper Midwest, 60 percent of whom participated in last year's bazaar, said Cross.
A panel of judges declared Michael Moschogianis, a Minnetonka-based photographer, as best in show and awarded cash prizes for first-, second- and third-place winners in several categories.
The first-place winners include: jewelry, Helena Johnson of Vergas; wood, Tom Larson of Brainerd; sculpture, Gen Jansen of St. Cloud; textile, Kim Underdahl of Hackensack; glass, Greg Rosenberg of Brainerd; flat (photography and paintings), DeLores Leonard of St. Paul.
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