Color and music will once again fill Bush’s Pasture Park as the art fair returns


In an effort to preserve the park’s white oaks, most of the art fair moved to pastureland along the High Street. All children’s activities are free and more than 200 artists will exhibit their products.

Customers browse the 2019 Salem Art Fair (Saphara Harrell/Salem Reporter)

Salem art lovers will have more sunshine when the annual Salem Art Fair and Festival makes a long-awaited return this weekend.

The 2022 event, sponsored by the Salem Art Association, takes place July 15-17 in Bush’s Pasture Park, returning to its favored location after two years of a scaled-down virtual event.

“The fact that it’s live and in person is a big deal for artists and for the community. A lot of these artists make a living from fairs like this,” said Matthew Boulay, chief executive of the arts association.

Around 200 artists will have booths showcasing jewelry, mixed media, textile arts, paintings, metalwork and more. Most come from the Northwest, but artists come from as far away as Georgia.

For the past few years, the festival has taken place along the main walkway of the park under the shade of tall oak trees. But the city’s efforts to better preserve the park’s trees, which suffered severe damage in the 2021 ice storm, have led to some changes to the venue, the city’s parks department spokesperson said. , Trevor Smith.

Now the stalls will be set up in the pastures along Southeast High Street, and the tents will be secured with weights rather than staked to prevent root damage. Vendors will not be permitted to park vehicles in the park except on the paved soapbox derby track.

Boulay said the arts association was happy to make the necessary changes to help preserve the park’s white oak, noting that artists generally love trees.

“A lot of us (growing up) the first thing we drew was a tree,” he said.

Boulay said that to compensate for the lack of shade, the festival takes umbrella tables, provides water for attendees and has “industrial-sized misters”. The Bush Barn Art Center, the association’s gallery and office, will remain open during the fair for people to stroll around or just take a break from the sun.

The association has taken steps this year to make the festival more inviting and accessible to everyone, Boulay said. This meant replacing a traditional 6ft fence along the High Street with a lower white picket fence.

“It felt more like a place to stay out rather than a fair where the public could enter,” he said of previous closings.

Tickets are $10 for adults and $5 for teens per day, or $20 and $10, respectively, for a weekend pass, and can be purchased online in advance or at the festival with a credit card. credit or cash. But there are more free options than ever — kids 13 and under, members of arts associations, Oregon foster families, and anyone receiving state food benefits with an Oregon card. Trail can enter for free.

The festival runs from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Friday and Saturday, with a concert from 7:30 p.m. to 9 p.m., and from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday. Food vendors will be available, and wine and beer can be purchased and consumed while walking around the festival.

A children’s area is also separate from the main festival with free activities such as face painting, rock art, storytelling, a bouncy castle and a children’s stage with live entertainment. This means that parents don’t have to spend money just to take their kids to the kids-only part of the festival.

The Mission Street Parks Conservancy will hold its annual plant sale under the trees near the Bush Barn Art Center. Plant sales hours are 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday.

Two other stages will feature musical performances and cultural activities, and a live mural will take place over the weekend in the pasture.

Due to limited parking in the neighborhood, shuttles will depart from the South Salem High School parking lots, 1910 Church St. SE, and the SAIF Corporation parking lot, 400 High St. SE

Before the pandemic, the art fair typically drew 30,000 to 35,000 people to the park over the weekend. It’s a major source of funds for the arts association, accounting for about 40% of revenue in a typical year, Boulay said.

Although attendance still depends on the weather, Boulay said he hopes the event will meet or exceed that benchmark.

“We think the demand is going to be higher than ever because folks, there’s kind of a pent-up demand for events like this,” he said. “We certainly hope to be there and we have the capacity to do more than that.”

A full calendar of events, list of vendors and more information is available on the art fair’s website.

Contact journalist Rachel Alexander: [email protected] or 503-575-1241.

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