Marion Arts Festival: 'I Feel Like I'm in Mayberry'
Thousands attended the 20th annual Marion Arts Festival, which is ranked the 17th best in the nation, in addition to being the smallest.
Marion Arts Festival Director Deb Bailey said this year, the Marion Arts Festival was ranked 17th best fine arts festival in the nation.
It is, by the way, the smallest arts festival on that list.
This year's event, the 20th annual, took place at City Square Park from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., drawing an estimates 16,000 people to see more than 50 arts vendors in Marion's uptown.
Bailey said it's because of the 50 quality arts vendors and because it's limited to one day in Marion's humble City Square Park that it's gained so much recognition.
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And some vendors agree.
"I feel like I'm in Mayberry," said Des Moines sculptor Linda Lewis.
Bailey said because of the crowd and the setting, customers and art appreciators are constantly finding themselves surprised at the quality and diversity of the art, which leads to unexpected purchases.
"I think it has a charm that is greater than the sum of its parts," said Bailey.
Lewis said she's seen this attitude amongst the many customers she had on Saturday. She said the seemed more genuinely inters-ted in talking about and buying the artwork, rather than
Lisa Koblenz came to the festival from Iowa City. The 46-year-old is a self described art lover and comes every year.
She said she likes the charm of Marion and the artists, which makes it well worth the trip.
"It's one of the best and finest in the country," she said.