Friday my wife, Laurel, and I went to the Salem Art Fair in Bush Park. Last year I wrote about the drawbacks of the new location mostly away from the large shady oak trees, which was necessary because of damage being caused to the trees.
On the positive side, some of the problems I noted in "Salem Art Fair better for trees in new location, but not as pleasant now" have been addressed, at least partially. But I also still agree with a follow-up post I wrote, "Salem Art Fair should move to Riverfront Park."
Here's some photos I took at this year's Art Fair. I'll use my comments on them to talk about what's been improved from last year, and what's stayed the same.
As we entered Bush Park after paying at a gate, once again I was struck by the lack of intimacy that marked the Art Fair under the sheltering oak trees. Being met by a very large open area exposed to the sun (temperature was in the mid-to-high 80's on Friday) didn't fill me with enthusiasm for the event.
The children's area to the south of the large open area looked more appealing, with the backdrop of large trees. We skipped that area, heading to the first artist booths at that end of the fair. For a while I felt enthused about being at the fair, enjoying the booths and lingering at some.
It was nice to see a woman with a good voice playing her guitar at a shady location. The Art Fair needs more of this: solo entertainers sprinkled throughout the fair. We dawdled here for a bit, since shade is rare at the new Art Fair location. I'm quite heat tolerant. My wife, less so. But as we walked around in the hot afternoon sun, our desire to dawdle dwindled.
I'd drunk 16 ounces of water just before going to the fair. But I was drawn to head toward the main food/drink area at the north end of the fair after viewing just a small number of booths, because the sun and heat was getting to me. And like I said, I tolerate heat better than Laurel does.
The new main stage at the back left of this photo didn't attract nearly as many people as the old main stage did. The reason, pretty clearly, is that the area near the old stage was largely shaded and the new area is in the direct sun. Some people were sitting under awnings listening to a performer, but there wasn't room for very many.
After we speed-walked our way through the artist booths because of the sun and heat, finding the new layout easier to navigate (last year's layout made it difficult to determine whether some booths had been missed), Laurel sat down in the shade while I explored the part of the fair nearest to where the old fair used to be located. This additional children's area was pleasant, being under trees.
I felt a pang of regret for the loss of the old location when I saw a barrier fence along what used to be the main corridor of the Art Fair, filled with visitors and brimming with energy. Now it was mostly empty. (Note the angry owl warning sign on the right; that brings back memories.)
There were a few booths along the main paved trail. I figured that maybe these didn't need a vehicle to transport the art so they could be near the oak trees. Regardless, I enjoyed this taste of the old fair location.
Leaving the Art Far, this woman asked us if we wanted to sign the petition requesting a referendum on the employee payroll tax recently passed by the Salem City Council without a vote of the people. I had to tell her that we live outside of the city limits so couldn't sign the petition. I definitely support the referendum, though, I said.