Art and music enthusiasts from as far away as Kansas City and Salina wandered from booth to booth and shop to shop on Main St. along with a number of county residents Sunday afternoon in downtown Marion.
“The people from Kansas City said they were amazed with the quality of artists and musicians that we had,” event organizer Jan Davis said. “They couldn’t believe that a small town could have such talent.”
Davis said the Art and Music Stroll had to compete with the River Festival in Wichita, which can make turnout rough from year to year.
“It’s hard to estimate but we think we had about 300 to 400 people that came through Gallery 101,” Davis said. “That’s about normal. The only downfall was that some shops weren’t open downtown.”
Those who attended the event saw a variety of art, visited a number of shops, and heard an assortment of musicians.
One little hometown shopper, 8-year-old Cheyenne Sawyer, added a new item to her John Wayne collection.
She found a large gold-colored coin with a bust of “The Duke” on the front and him riding a bucking bronco on the back at Bearly Makin’ It Antiques, while violinist Mark Wilcox played “Pop Goes the Weasel” on one of his handmade violins .
“My favorite movie is ‘McLintock!’” Cheyenne said. “I got ‘The Quiet Man’ for my birthday.”
Leroy and Nancy Schmidt, Arik Schmidt and their two mules, Tom and Jerry, also provided covered wagon rides during the event.
“It’s nothing new to Tom and Jerry,” Schmidt said. “They have done this the last couple years.”
Schmidt said a covered wagon has to observe the same rules of the road as any other vehicle. At one point during the afternoon he even demonstrated to his passengers how the mules could make a three-point turn.
“When they’re not pulling a wagon like this one, we’ve got them doing a little farming, just enough to keep them honest,” Schmidt said. “They are crafty.”
Musicians Mike Moran and Galen Obermeyer played acoustic tunes outdoors in the art garden beside Gallery 101. Inside, artists Susan Bartel and Belinda Skiles displayed their artwork.
Skiles brought 25 of her horse sculptures she creates by twisting baling wire into abstract ponies, steeds, and mares while Bartel displayed her watercolor paintings.
“Skiles is a wealth of information,” Davis said. “She is in the middle of three or four commissions right now.”
Bartel works for the Newton library and has illustrations that have been published in many publications.
She used to work as a commercial artist for a number of science textbook companies, she said. Bartel used to create everything from cells to fire safety diagrams, she said, but watercolor lets her be more relaxed as an artist.
“I am learning every day,” she said. “But now I don’t have to worry about being so exact.”
Bartel said she still gives herself rules to help scale down the possibilities and focus on painting. Most of her paintings are of wildlife and landscapes.
A number of other musicians and artists participated.
In Liberty Park, musicians Roy Patton and Tom Meyers played their instruments for patrons, sharing the area with the Blue Stem Art Guild.
Gerald Wiens also had a booth displaying his photography, set up outside of Flint Hills Gold, and inside Emma Ehart was silversmithing.
Anita Hancock took song requests and answered questions about her harpsicle at Central Park Antiques and Gifts.
A harpsicle is a small harp.
Sew What Quilt Shop had Quilts of Valor on display along with the artwork of Francis Turner.
Prairie Oaks Alpacas had two baby alpacas for patrons to pet along with the sounds of musician Greg Walker.