After a long day displaying his artwork, all Paul Chaussee wanted was a cold beer.
But the McLouth artist, who was selling a variety of mosaic works with his wife, Deb, said Sunday's Art in the Park was the perfect way to kick off the spring art season.
"There's just a great group (of artists), a lot of talent," he said, sitting in a folding chair as people perused the stained-glass platters, windows and tables the Chaussees designed.
About 130 artists set up shop at South Park for the 47th annual affair. Some came from as far away as Minnesota and Florida, said Linda Baransky, president of the Lawrence Art Guild. Art in the Park benefits the art guild, and Baransky said she expected to rake in about $6,000 to support programs for local artists.
Everything from painted street signs to handmade jewelry and colorful ceramics were on display. Massachusetts Street was blocked off between North Park and South Park streets, and an old Cadillac Coupe deVille invited children to draw chalk masterpieces on its hull. Several musical groups entertained the crowd throughout the day.
"This isn't just your typical craft show. It's all designed and made by the artists themselves," Baransky said, adding that the event was a juried art fair, meaning that each artist's work was vetted before being accepted to participate.
She said between 6,000 and 7,000 people attended the event.
Catherine and Allan Bedora came from Fairway with their two cairn terriers, Lucy and Rose.
They had attended the Brookside art festival in Kansas City, Mo., over the weekend and were looking forward to seeing the work of Lawrence-area artists.
The fair impressed the Bedoras, who made their first trip to Art in the Park. "I think the artists are more local here than in Brookside," Allan said, adding that it was more affordable, too.
He was impressed by the live music.
"What's really nice is the patriotic thing that Lawrence City Band did," Allan Bedora said. The band played the national anthem at noon, and many in the crowd stood out of respect.
This year's fair may not have raised as much money as others in the past. The reason? The economy, of course.
Ron Beeton, a photographer from Marion, complained that his sales were down and blamed a slowing economy.
"I don't think it is quite as good as past years," said Deb Chaussee. "We hoped with the rebate checks, people would be flush with cash."
But that did little to dampen artists' enthusiasm.
"It's an annual tradition around here," Deb Chaussee said. "People were really looking forward to this."