This will be a different type of art in the park - barbecue sauce will replace the watercolors.
Fifteen locally owned Lawrence restaurants won approval from city commissioners Tuesday to host a food festival Oct. 8 at South Park, 11th and Massachusetts streets.
The event will feature a variety of culinary creations for patrons to purchase, including barbecue, Italian, Asian and American cuisine.
What it won't feature, though, are national restaurant chains.
"We really want to do something to encourage dining patrons in Lawrence to come to the local restaurants, come to the businesses that actually spend the money back in the community," said Matt Llewellyn, an owner of 23rd Street Brewery and one of the organizers of the event.
The food festival - which will sell $1 tickets for patrons to redeem for samples at various booths - is being hosted by the Lawrence Originals, a new group of local restaurant owners.
The group was the brainchild of Doug Holiday, an owner of Bigg's BBQ.
Holiday read about a similar group of local restaurant owners banding together in a Florida community and thought it made sense for Lawrence.
"Lawrence has always prided itself on being unique," Holiday said. "This is a way to support that."
The food festival - set to run from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. Oct. 8 - is the first event for the new group. But Holiday said group members hope to do cooperative advertising, and plan to offer a special dining card where patrons can redeem it to have a portion of their check go to a local charity.
Holiday said he hopes that by banding together with other independent restaurants that he'll be able to better combat the national advertising budgets of the major chain restaurants.
"I think eating at local restaurants is going to be a big trend," Holiday said. "When people visit a town they want to do something different, something they can't do at home, but you have to have a good way to let them know you are there."
The group already has started to put brochures touting the local restaurant offerings in hotels and other places where tourists often visit.
City commissioners on Tuesday were happy to do their part. Commissioners unanimously agreed to allow the group to use South Park, which has been the longtime home to Art in the Park and various musical and community events. Commissioners also agreed to allow the organizers to sell beer and wine as part of the event.
People interested in attending the event can buy tickets in advance at participating restaurants or buy them at the festival. Information on participating restaurants can be found at www.lawrenceoriginals.com.