Kimball announces plans for 37th annual Arts Festival
Are you ready for August? Since summer hasn’t even officially started, perhaps not, but City Hall and the Kimball Art Center are already making their preparations for the month and its premier event the annual Park City Kimball Arts Festival.
As of now, the 2006 version of the event is still three months away, but this past week, the organization announced the outline for the festival, and while the Kimball and Park City still have time to hone the final details of the weekend, the organization does have a framework for what will happen.
This year’s festival, the 37th annual, will run from Aug. 4 to 6 and will feature a schedule similar to last year’s. According to Kimball Art Center executive director Pam Crowe-Weisberg those who attended the event last year should notice few changes.
"We had such a successful festival last year," she said. "Why fix it if it isn’t broke?"
Park City special events manager Alison Butz, who oversees much of the Arts Festival planning, also said the event would return much the same.
"What people are going to see is very similar to last year," she said.
The art center will again hold its annual Kimball Art Auction and Gala on Thursday, Aug. 3, and for the second year in a row, the Arts Festival will open on Friday night in conjunction with the Park City Gallery Stroll. The Friday night opening, which proved successful last year, allows locals to see the Main Street Galleries and the Arts Festival artists free of charge and without the weekend crowds.
"We are excited to see the free Friday night locals event come back," said Butz. "We really saw a lot of positive comments about that last year."
The Friday night event, Crowe-Weisberg noted, does decrease the number of people paying for admission to the Arts Festival later in the weekend, however, the service provided outweighs the cost to the Kimball. The evening event attracts more visitors to Main Street and increases the number of overnight stays in Park City while also offering a unique opportunity to residents.
"Basically, the Kimball is throwing a party on Main Street," she said. "We are thrilled to be able to offer it to the locals."
Saturday and Sunday’s events will be almost identical to last year’s. According to a press release from the Kimball, the Arts Festival will include 220 artists (chosen from a field of more than 800 who applied), three stages for music and a children’s area the Kimball Kids’ Corner. The artists’ tents will again be in the middle of the street, and festivities will run from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday and from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Sunday.
Among the only changes will be an increase in the number of bands playing during the festival from 19 last year to 30 this year and an expansion of the Kids’ Corner.
"We’re trying to really promote and push the live music," said Crowe-Weisberg. "It’s just a good addition to the festival."
And the kids’ area was so popular last year that a slight expansion seemed to make sense, she added.
Butz noted one more change in the city’s festival arrangements.
"We will be opening up portions of the China Bridge parking structure for festival attendees at a charge," she said.
That will allow some festival-goers to park much closer to Main Street. However, Butz added, not all attendees will be able to park in the structure, and that option will cost money, so visitors are still encouraged to park at satellite locations like the ski resorts and take busses into town.
Crowe-Weisberg noted only one other major change in the festival is the inclusion of some new sponsors. In addition to Ken Garff Automotive Group, which has been a longtime festival sponsor, Tesoro and Travelocity will both join to sponsor the festival.
Crowe-Weisberg said the sponsors signal the Kimball’s desire to attract a more national audience for the Arts Festival.
"What we’re trying to do there is to make it known elsewhere, outside of Park City and even outside of Utah," she said.
That aim dovetails with state and local marketing efforts, pushing the areas as recreational and cultural destinations in the summers as well as the winters. The Arts Festival, she said, is one part of that effort.
So while locals get the first shot at the festival, the visitors might be more varied than ever.
"I think the festival is getting bigger and bigger," said Crowe-Weisberg.
The event starts in three months and three days.
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