Art for All

Each July, the Ketchum Arts Festival brings the community together

The Ketchum Arts Festival is a fun, free, community event

Each July, the vast green Festival Meadow in Sun Valley transforms into an outdoor art bazaar where creative people raise their tents, bring in their wares and open for business during the Ketchum Arts Festival. Featuring nearly 150 artists who work in mediums from oil paint to antlers, this colorful event displays local talent, live music and good food.

This year, the Ketchum Arts Festival took place on July 12, 13, and 14. Under bluebird skies hundreds of patrons meandered up and down the grassy aisles, browsing, buying, chatting with vendors and reconnecting with people from throughout the community.

My family's home for the weekend -- booth 42

My family's home for the weekend -- booth 42

My family spent the long sunny weekend inside booth #42. My daughter, a painter and digital artist, has exhibited and sold her work at the Festival for four years. For us, setting up our white tent and mesh walls is always a reunion of sorts. As the communal ‘barn’ of the show is raised, the Art Festival family catches up on the year that was. For us, this long weekend is the only time of year we see many of the vendors, despite the fact that the vast majority are local.

And you never know who you will meet at the Festival. This year, our neighbors in the next booth turned out to be neighbors in real life – neighbors we had never met. We packed up Sunday night with firm plans with the Abbotts to enjoy a glass of wine or some lemonade in their backyard that is about three over from ours.

The art is a individual as the imagination at this something-for-everyone event

The art is a individual as the imagination at this something-for-everyone event

Many of the shoppers who step into our booth are also familiar faces. Lovely people from Dallas, Marin County, Seattle, San Diego and lots of locals are all repeat customers, stopping by to look at the work; to talk art and to talk life. Many have offered college advice, business advice and encouragement to my daughter who is 14. Like-minded teens and young adults find shade beneath our tent to compare notes about the Japanese-inspired styles of Anime and Manga that inform my daughter’s work.

It is a weekend enjoyed by all – artists and patrons. From the tasty tacos, burgers, ice cream and smoothies, to the wide variety of live music, the Art Festival is a mellow, and free, way to embrace part of what makes Sun Valley so special.

A variety of live music and good food options bring provide a perfect break from browsing

A variety of live music and good food options bring provide a perfect break from browsing

Whether you’re in the market for handmade jewelry, ceramics, prints, wooden furniture, fiber art, hammocks, or even a tutu, there is something, in every price range, for everyone. It’s a wonderful way to while away a few lazy, hazy summer hours. If you plan to be in Sun Valley the second weekend in July, be sure to mark your calendar and come on by.

See you next year at Festival Meadow!

–RES

a la Mode Promises a Sweet Summer

The welcome mat is out at a la mode. Come on in for a sweet treat!

The welcome mat is out at a la mode. Come on in for a sweet treat!

Picture this: It’s a late summer afternoon in Sun Valley. The strong sun is high in the sky. You are hot. Most likely, you have spent the morning hiking, biking, golfing, playing tennis, riding horses, swimming or enjoying any of the other countless activities that make the warm weather months here so spectacular.

But now you need a refreshing break.  What better way to recharge your summer batteries than with cold, creamy, delicious (and house made!) ice cream. Step into a la mode in the Sun Valley Village and step back to simpler times. This old fashion ice cream parlor, that opened June 1 for the season, is charming and whimsical, featuring jars filled with brightly colored candy, oversize glass containers frosted with chilled iced tea and lemonade. And, of yes, ice cream.

Color and whimsy abound at a la mode

Color and whimsy abound at a la mode

la mode debuted its new summer menu this weekend, featuring house made and local ice cream treats for the entire family. Traditional ice cream, gelato, yogurt and sorbet are all featured on the menu in flavors from vanilla bean to tin roof to butterscotch pecan. Yum! Homemade ice cream bars come in varieties including almond joy, rocky road and orange dreamsicle. The list of toppings is 17 items long and features the usual suspects like marshmallow sauce, but also adds a twist with chocolate covered pretzels, peppermint patties and toasted coconut.

Feeling cooler yet?

And we haven’t even gotten to the creative sundae menu and the parlor’s most popular item: milkshakes. In fact, on Saturday, I met Carlos sitting at the cool marble bar at a la mode, savoring his milkshake. This true aficionado marked his calendar so as not to forget to come in on opening day because he loves the shakes that much.

Curious, and hungry, my family took Carlos’ advice and ordered milkshakes – two chocolate and one Oreo. When the freezing, thick shakes, capped with a festive swirl of real whipped cream were brought to our table outside, the children’s eyes were as big as their appetites. And the milkshakes delivered. Between gulps, everyone agreed, it is definitely the best frozen drink around.

Sundaes layered with flavor...

Sundaes layered with flavor...

Thick chocolate milkshakes...

Thick chocolate milkshakes...

For the sake of journalistic balance, I strayed from the milkshake plan and ordered a banana cream pie sundae. My large dish, layered with crushed graham crackers, vanilla ice cream, pastry cream and of course, loads of bananas and whipped cream was packed with flavor and texture – delicious! All the sundae offerings (grasshopper, strawberry shortcake, chocolate chip cookie, peanut butter cookie, fudge brownie, cheesecake) incorporate fresh ingredients from both a la mode and the Konditorei next door to create one-of-a-kind taste sensations.

Sated, and sleepy, our first venture to a la mode this summer was a huge success. This sweet storefront is sure to be a hub of yesteryear festivity all summer long. Truly, what better way is there to enjoy a leisurely hot afternoon than with ice cream, especially when it is this good?

–RES

Carlos, a huge a la mode fan, gives his milkshake a thumbs up!

Carlos, a huge fan of a la mode, gives his milkshake a thumbs up!