New residents Brian and Peggy Lundberg, who had a pottery studio in the old Zion Lutheran Church in Moose Lake, saw the success of Agate Days when they moved to the community in the late 1990s but felt that there was a lack of other activities for the hundreds of people that were in town that weekend.
“We contacted art people throughout the area, and went to the city council and asked if we could use the park on the Saturday of Agate Days,” said Peggy in a telephone interview. “They approved our idea, and we had 12 vendors that first year. Autumn Voices sang, and the Girl Scouts sold tacos in a bag.”
That was the beginning of Art in the Park, held each year since 1999.
Now the vendors fill all 60 spaces available for the event, and add another dimension to Agate Days.
Peggy said that they had been involved in similar events in the Duluth area, and they had met many other artists. Those artists, along with the many artists in the local area, were the basis for the mailing list of artists that were invited to Art in the Park.
A committee was formed and planning began.
In those early days, Peggy said that she had written all of the letters and addressed all of the envelopes by hand as the event was being planned.
“There was a lot of time involved for me,” she said. “Now it is all done on a computer.”
The Lundbergs have retired from making pottery and no longer have a big role in the planning of Art in the Park.
As she looks back and compares the Moose Lake City Park with other parks where similar events have been held, Peggy sees that Moose Lake City Park has something special.
“Our park is ideally set up for Art in the Park,” she said. “The many trees provide shade for both the vendors and the visitors.
“The Kiwanis has a pancake breakfast in the park in the morning. That fits together perfectly.”
However, this year, the pancake breakfast will be held on July 27, in conjunction with the Moose Paddle and Triathalon.
The current organizers are Bernard and Susan Otterer and Walter and Roseanne Anderson.
Bernie Otterer said that all 60 vendor spaces are full this year, including five that have double spaces.
Vendors will have pottery, paintings, jewelry, wood carvings, stained glass, metal sculpture and photography to name a few of the arts that will be available for purchase.
One artist will be coming from southern Wisconsin, and another, who has family in the area, will be coming from Florida.
“We have artists that are coming from a fair distance away to take part in this event,” said Otterer.
The event opens at 9 a.m. and ends at 5 p.m.
Live music starts at 11 a.m. and runs until 5 p.m. Featured will be music on the pan flute.
After Art in the Park, a Bluegrass Jam will begin at 5 p.m.
For the first time, the Art in the Park committee will be able to give back, due to the success of Art in the Park.
“We are going to make donations to the three local schools to support the arts in the schools,” said Otterer. “This is the first year that we are giving the donations. We will be giving donations to the art classes in the Willow River, Moose Lake and Barnum schools this year. We will give to other schools next year.”