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 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.
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.
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!