Artists impressed by annual festival

Oregon-based weaver Karen Gelbard, right, helps a customer try on one of her creations Sunday afternoon.

Artists said Sunday they were thoroughly impressed by this yearâ??s Art in the Park festival.

The festivalâ??s 56th incarnation wrapped up Sunday afternoon as hundreds of people moved from booth to booth. Sculptures, flower arrangements, paintings and other art- and craftwork were on display and available for sale.

Cindy Martin, a Van Buren, Mo.-based potter, said she has come to the festival for the last three years. She said customer turnout has been excellent and the showâ??s organizers always treat the artists well.

â??The Columbia people are great, so that makes a big difference,â?? she said.

Karen Gelbard made her first trip to Columbia this year. The Pacific City, Ore.-based weaver said Art in the Park is smaller than most festivals she attends, but she liked the reception the artists got. Gelbard won an award for her work from the Columbia Art League Saturday evening. Gelbardâ??s sister, March Barton, came along to model her handiwork. Barton and Gelbard said they appreciated all the help they got from festival volunteers in loading and unloading their wares.

Gelbard and Martin both say they plan on returning to Columbia next year.