Art-in-the-Park, West Park, Allentown, PA – here’s what happened

We participated in this show on Saturday, June 17. Normally held in the park, the anticipated weather problems necessitated a move indoors, to the Masonic Temple right across the street.

Glad we were inside, as it did rain hard in the morning and off and on all day. I hate being out in the rain at a show. I do hate it.

Nonetheless, things were chaotic in getting set up, with everyone having to figure out the new layout, find their space, and haul items up and down stairs. Additionally, this is the first year for a new set of show organizers – the previous ones (30 years) having passed the baton. It all turned out fine and I give everyone compliments for adapting and making things really nice.

OK. So we had a spot in the lobby, right at the front door. Couldn’t have asked for a better one.

I stepped outside during setup for a minute. Setup is a time when everyone is focused on their own booth, and each artist has a routine for getting things put together. Not a lot of talking or socializing during this part of the show, just a lot of activity.

Once we were set up, I took a look around. The Masonic Temple, built in the 1920’s, is a registered historic site, and what a wonderful building it is. It houses the meeting rooms for Masonic functions as well as some office space. The whole place is solid, well-built, enduring – tile floor in the lobby, much wood trim, marble stairs. Just wonderful.

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Terrazzo floor, lower level.
Artists and crafters were set up in the main meeting space:

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and in the less formal room below it:

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Once we got in and were settled, the day went well. The venue worked just perfectly and I think the indoor location encouraged people to stay and wander around (always good for sales), since they did not have to worry about the weather. There was a good vibe – the closer quarters encouraged more conversation, a nice hum of activity.

I caught up with some art friends – when you do shows, there is a fellow-feeling among the exhibitors and you make friends, staying in touch from show to show. This year, the show was bittersweet for me. There have been losses in the last year for people I know here; illness and death, sadness and grief. I reflected on how many years I have been doing shows, and once again I understand that now I’m one of the people whose memories encompass events that seem from another world, almost, and involve people who are no longer with us.

For me, this show was different from how it had been in the past, and I don’t mean the temporary location disruption, but the feel of it, and it made me sad. But, as I watched the new group of organizers coping with the unexpected and feeling good about putting on a successful show, well, I remember that life is a flow and it always goes on. I will adapt, too.

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Parking lot after the show – we are almost ready to leave. See my husband by our car back there, next to the green plastic bin? I’d better hurry up!
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7 thoughts on “Art-in-the-Park, West Park, Allentown, PA – here’s what happened

    1. Yes, there have been changes over the past year, some endings, and also, I think many things have changed for me in the last year, and that seemed more apparent at this show for some reason, maybe because I have done it for so long and it threads through so many years. I did love that Masonic Temple building, though.

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    1. Yes, doing shows is rewarding in lots of ways, and for me it’s not so much about selling anymore as it is the people I have met and formed connections with over the years, and the sense of happiness when someone likes my work or gets something from it, whether they buy it or not. And I really like Allentown so much. I would live there if I didn’t live here.

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  1. Regardless of where the show ended up taking place, it sure seemed like a great time. Claudia, please remember the park doesn’t make the event, the people do, and it sure seems like you figured that out later in the day. I had no idea our town had so much artistic talent. What a unique community, and what an excellent recap of the day. I hope the rain holds out next year and the event exceeds your expectations!

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    1. Things started off hectic but that’s par for the course with a rain location, and of course the organizers want to show off the park, that being a big reason for the show and it’s disappointing when that falls through. All us vendors love being in the park but a few weeks later and more than one vendor friend had commented on the great energy being in a more cozy setting brought out. Plus it is nice to showcase such a great building. I’d love to do another show there- though I’d rather plan for it, of course! In any case, there was a lot of good art to be seen and I’m grateful to have been included.

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