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Art in the Park coming at Stephen Foster October 7

By Gabrielle Stevenson

On October 7, Stephen Foster Folk Culture Center State Park in White Springs will be host to an event geared at children and creativity called “Art in the Park”. This is a free event put on specifically by the Craft Square and is headed by Janeen Mayes, the Gift Shop and Craft Square Manager.

While fun activities for all ages are set for this event, Art in the Park is much like an introduction to many arts and crafts some may never be exposed to. Craft demonstrators will be present in the cabins of the craft square, allowing families and children to see how pottery, quilting, basket weaving, jewelry making and blacksmithing are done. Seeing how these crafters work is important as the folk arts die off in this technological age, especially for children. The event will take place from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

Also in the Craft Square cabins, kids will take part in various arts and crafts, like rock painting, bracelet making, face painting and outside the park will even have sidewalk chalk art - all of it free to the public, excluding the park’s regular $5.00 per car load (up to eight people) admission fee. Inside the Bell Tower, the park has invited the Gainesville Civic Chorus Chamber Singers to perform during Art in the Park as well as Song Farmers in the Craft Square. Vendors selling various goods will be at the event as well, some selling items geared towards children and adults. Food vendors will also be at the event.

When it comes to doing something great for children, Janeen Mayes said it was simple, “I want people to come for the kids sake. I want them to have an experience. We have workshops they can do on an everyday basis that they have to pay for in the Craft Square. I want something they can experience for free and take home those memories they can pass on to their kids. I want them to be able to tell their kids, ‘This is what I made when I was a kid, your age, at Stephen Foster’. I want them to learn about the different arts too.”

One part of the event, while still free, does require those who participate to sign up ahead of time, as there are only 20 slots available. According to Mayes, one of the park rangers is putting on a program for kids to build their very own birdhouse. Everything will be cut out for them, but they will learn to build the birdhouse and be able to decorate it. Mayes said, “In order to sign up for it, they just need to call the gift shop and tell us they want to reserve a spot for the birdhouse program. It’s free to the kids too, there’s no paying for it.”

Art in the Park is sure to excite all the children that come. Mayes and other staff members at Stephen Foster hope parents will bring their children for a day of fun and Remember, t here are no fees to come to the event except for regular park admission, five dollars per car load, up to eight people. To sign up for the birdhouse program or find out more about the event, call (386) 3697-1920 and visit