Wednesday, August 21, 2019

An Appreciation of the Arts

The event may have been delayed but the enthusiasm of vendors and visitors would not be denied. Such was the case with the 6th Annual Arts & Crafts Fair in Goodland.

Held on a recent Sunday at MarGood Harbor Park, the event was originally scheduled to be held in late January at the same time as the annual Mullet Festival at Stan’s Idle Hour Seafood Restaurant. However, day-long cool temps and chilling rains led the organizers, the Goodland Civic Association to push the fair back for about one month.

“We decided we prefer this to freezing rain,” quipped painter Tara O’Neill, who chaired the association’s organizing committee for the fair. Regarding the reaction of her fellow artists to the decision to push back the event date, she chuckled and said, “I never got so many thank you emails in my life.”

The weather was much more seasonal for the rescheduled festival, with sunny skies and temperatures well into the eighties.

“It turned out to be a great day,” said O’Neill as she surveyed strolling fairgoers from her booth. “The crowds have been steady. I understand myself and all the other vendors have had great sales and its great weather.”

Vacationers Kirk and Linda Ellis came away with a wall collage of shells on a wooden base created by Goodland artist Judy Wittwer. The Missouri residents attend the fair whenever it coincides with their visits to the area. During their decades of coming to the Marco area, they’ve become aficionados of the region’s architecture and its art, and use it to decorate their home and its grounds.

“Well, it’s all different for us because we’re from Kansas City,” said Kirk Ellis. “We look for things that are different in our area, but are kind of normal down here. We bought this and my wife wants to put it above the mirror in one of our bathrooms. We’re hoping there’s enough width, but if not we’ll hang it lengthwise. I think it’s a bargain, actually. I’m surprised that it wasn’t more expensive.”

Wittwer, who described her creations as “whimsical shell art and mermaids and also clay – I’m doing clay planter heads, as well,” said she always takes part in the fair. She attributes the event’s popularity, in part, to its relaxed atmosphere.

“Everybody is in a good mood and having a good time: the music the art and the people walking through appreciating your work,” she added.  

As always, the vendors’ booths contained work that ran the gamut of the visual arts, from painting, to jewelry, to collage and assemblage and beyond. The fair also featured food and live music from such local artists as Billy J & the Big Easy, the Allen Brothers, JRobert Houghtaling, Mike MacManus, Ben Olson and Raiford Starke.

Coming up soon at the park is the annual Harbor Arts & Music Festival juried fine arts festival, set for March 9 through March 10. Along with notable artists, the event also features live music, food vendors and displays from local environmental and cultural non-profit groups.

For more information the festival, visit

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