30th South Portland Art in the Park to add more fun for kids

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SOUTH PORTLAND — Parents are going to find more entertainment options for their children at the 30th annual Art in the Park on Saturday, Aug. 8, at Mill Creek Park.

Chinese flower folding has been added to the children’s area, which this year will also feature three performances by Julie & Brownie, a New Hampshire-based duo who dress in costumes and play children’s music.

Mary Kahl, chairwoman of Art in the Park planning committee, said the committee received a CD from the singers and thought they would make a nice addition to the show.

“We listened to it and thought it would be fun for the kids,” she said. “Their music has positive messages ranging from eating healthy food to diversity. We are expecting that Julie & Brownie will be a popular addition to the Kids in the Park area and they will continue to be in the show in future years.”

Julie & Brownie will perform three, 45-minute sets at 10:30 a.m., 12:30 p.m. and 1:30 p.m.

Brownie is Brownie Macintosh, a performer since 1965 who has written songs and toured with the Kingston Trio and appeared on the “Tonight Show” with Jay Leno; Julie is Julie Thompson, a mezzo-soprano from Gorham who met Macintosh when booking acts for Portland’s noontime concert series. 

For more than a decade, the duo has developed a variety of costumed and choreographed sets, including “It’s a Pirate’s Life For Me” and “The Gypsies of Nodnol,” “The Streamlined Double Decker Bus,” “Healthy Eating and Safety” or “The Many Faces of Diversity.”

Art in the Park, which is free to patrons, is paid for by artists fees and sponsors. Any money made above and beyond costs is donated for park improvements. Past improvements include the gazebo, fountain, a contribution toward holiday lighting, a $500 contribution to development of the Greenbelt Walkway and $1,000 toward the plaque for Arvin “Ge” Erskine Park. In 2005, Art in the Park donated $250 toward assisting artists affected by Hurricane Katrina.

In honor of the 30th year of the festival, the committee is donating $3,000 to the Friends of Mill Creek’s efforts to update and implement a master improvement plan for Mill Creek Park.

Kahl said the new offerings are an effort to ramp up the entertainment value of the art show, since more families are staying home rather than taking vacations as a result of the sputtering economy.

“This being our 30th year, and also having been a hard year for many people, we were looking for a few special things to celebrate and give back to the community,” she said. “This is also the reason for our donation to the Friends of Mill Creek Park.” 

While new entertainment will be offered this year, the traditional ingredients that have made the show a visual feast for the last 30 years will endure.

There are 185 artists planning to display their original art and photography from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Jim Gallant will play up-tempo guitar in the gazebo. A wellness area next to the food court will offer massages, reflexology and acupuncture. 

Children can make their own creations from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the Kids in the Park Area, where face-painting will also be offered.

The food court, at the corner of Broadway and Ocean Street, will be open from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Vendors this year include Breakwater Daybreak Rotary Club, CVC Catering Group, India Palace, Portland Shellfish, Sarah’s Ice Cream Co., Sweet-Tooth Catering, Town & Country Federal Credit Union (free samples of Captain Eli’s soda from 1-3 p.m.), Verbena Eat Right Now and the Waterfront Market Association.

Mayor Tom Blake will present cash prizes to the artists, including six, $30 prizes to student artists. 

Randy Billings can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 100 or rbillings@theforecaster.net 

Art in the Park 1.JPGScarborough artist Oana Lauric, seated, at last year’s Art in the Park.

Sidebar Elements

Art in the Park map.jpgThe 30th Art in the Park will be held Saturday, Aug. 8, at Mill Creek Park in South Portland. In case of all-day rain or severe weather, the show will take place on Sunday, Aug. 9. If the weather is questionable, call 767-7656. Click on the thumbnail for an enlarged map of the venue.