By Brooke Geery
With nearly all events cancelled due to Covid-19, no one would have been surprised if Rutland’s annual Art in the Park festival didn’t happen this year. But by limiting the number of vendors and attendees, the Chaffee Art Gallery was able to host the event for the 59th year on Aug. 8-9. Main Street Park in Rutland was neatly fenced off and instead of compact rows of tents filling the space, vendors were spread around the park with arrows on the ground leading people in a one-way figure 8 path around them.
St. Albans-based Green Mountain Kettle Corn was one of the most popular vendors, as it seemed very few people left without a bag of their signature maple kettle corn. Owner Daniel Bergeron said this was his only festival this year. Normally he does over 200. “It’s been ok, maybe 30-40 percent of normal,” he said.
A steady stream of people filtered through the park on Saturday, enjoying beautiful weather and art such as paintings, photography, silk and fabric crafts and more. Keeping to the state’s limit of 150 at a time was maintained with a dedicated entrance and exit, and volunteers at each end keeping count. Everyone wore masks and crowds were not an issue.
Some people got a jump on their Christmas shopping, while others just enjoyed the chance to browse. The consensus from attendees was one of appreciation; people seemed genuinely excited to have something to do and some where to go. Though certainly much smaller than in the past, Art in the Park can definitely be considered a success and planning is already in process for the event in October.