Sunday, August 14, 2011

Rutland's "Art in the Park"

Today I went to see the 50th annual "Art in the Park" in Rutland, Vermont. The Chaffee Art Center is the organizer of the event which takes place in Main Street Park in August and October. It is a juried event, with over 100 exhibitors of arts and crafts, as well as local foods. The park is a block-square grassy space, just big enough to house the exhibits, but not so big that the visitors got lost in the space. We had a good time browsing and chatting with artists, then went to see Merchats' Row, the old Main Street of Rutland. One side of Main Street was tranformed into a mall, the other side looks like 19th century Vermont. Neither is holding its own against the movement of traffic and commerce to the wide and busy Routes 7 and 4, which dominate the flow in the area. They are classically ugly American shopping highways, no charm, no distinction. Driving around the Rutland area, including Killington and Okemo ski areas, gave me the distinct impression that tourism in Vermont has taken a hit from the long recession. As we were driving back from the movies in Rutland, my granddaughter pointed out Evenint Song, a farm where she and other campers had helped with weeding and making a swimming hole. These are young farmers, getting started, with signs in front of their farm saying "Join our CSA." I'd bought from them at the Ludlow Farmer's Market two days before. Good stuff, beautiful varieties and great taste. If necessity is the mother of invention, we may be for many new approaches in years to come.

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