September 17th, 2019 12:36 PM
Art lovers browse the merchandise at one of the many vendors at the 2018 Brookfield Fine Arts Festival. This year's fest feature more than 40 artists working across all media. (Alex Rogals/Staff Photographer)
By JACKIE PISANO
For the past decade, cooler temperatures and the beginning of fall have coincided with a celebration of all things artistic at Brookfield's Fine Arts Festival.
And this month, as the event celebrates its 10th anniversary, the annual event is promising more artists, music and eats than ever before.
From 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 21, Kiwanis Park (8820 Brookfield Ave.) will be filled with wide range of artwork from 42 local artists, featuring everything from paintings and jewelry to pottery and fiber art.
Abby Brennan, event coordinator and owner of Brennan Massage and Spa in downtown Brookfield, says the festival promises a great day of shopping, music, food and enjoyment of the arts.
"People are attracted to being around the arts — they are thought provoking, visually enticing, [make] great gifts and much more," she said.
Forest Park resident Kim Adami Hasegawa, who is a featured artist at this year's festival, will be displaying her one-of-a-kind handmade greeting cards. Each card is hand-typed on a mid-century typewriter and adorned with real cancelled postage stamps from the 1890s through 1980s, and every envelope comes hand-lined with pages from a mid-century encyclopedia.
"I hope people see the wealth of arts in the Brookfield area," Adami Hasegawa said. "There are so many artists and makers in the near west suburbs, and this show is a great way to see the variety of work."
Once again, festival-goers of all ages will also have the chance to try their hands at their own art projects.
From noon to 2 p.m., adults 18 and older can show off their skills in the annual sidewalk chalk art contest for a chance to win one of three cash prizes. Those wishing to sign up can contact Brennan at 708-255-5335.
New this year will be drop-in painting sessions hosted by Brookfield's Compassion Factory Art Gallery and Studio.
"We'll provide all the materials: canvas, paint, et cetera. They provide the creativity," said Jessica Tamburello, executive director of The Compassion Factory.
The fee for the painting sessions is $20, and people can sign up ahead of time by visiting squ.re/2lIX27u.
Free kids crafts will also be provided all day long, courtesy of the Brookfield Friends of the Library.
Throughout the event, visitors strolling through the park will get to enjoy music from the Riverside Brookfield High School jazz ensemble, student musicians from A Sound Education music school, children's songs and dancing with Clara D'Onofrio of Ms. Clara's Joyful Learning Center and local band Tank and the Beez.
James Baum, music teacher at RBHS, said performing at the event has become a fall tradition for the school's jazz bands. This year, about 30 freshman through seniors will be showcasing their talents.
"I've long considered our community to be a fine arts community, and nothing quite shows that more than the fact that we have an arts fair," he said. "It's super important that we engage all of the creative artists in our community, from the student musicians to Brookfield's fine artists who will be displaying their work at the fair."
The festival will also be overflowing with a variety of food options, with four food trucks parked and serving up eats all day long. Cuisine options include Mexican food from Arnold's Tacos, hot dogs from Go Doggy Run, organic quinoa bowls, vegan sandwiches and salads from Eden's Garden and American burgers and sandwiches galore from Culinary Gangster.
Brookfield's own Gosia's Coffee Shop and Zoo City Treats will be serving up bakery items, and a variety of wines and beers will also be available for adults to purchase.
All in all, Brennan hopes the 10th anniversary of the festival demonstrates to residents the importance of bringing the village together to celebrate art.
"I still believe strongly in bringing the arts to a community," she said. "It enhances any community and business district."
This story has been changed to correct the name of the band Tank and the Beez.
While you're wandering through Kiwanis Park enjoying the Brookfield Fine Arts Festival on Sept. 21, you might want to wander over to the Washington Avenue bridge over Salt Creek at about noon for the Brookfield Beautification Commission's annual Duck Race fundraiser.
Each year, hundreds of people pre-purchase rubber ducks which will be dumped by a public works front-end loader from the bridge into Salt Creek. The ducks, herded by local scouts in kayaks, float downstream to roughly the canoe launch. The top three finishers will earn their owners cash prizes (up to $500 for the first-place duck).
Funds raised from the event go to support the Brookfield Beautification Commission's public art initiatives, like the interactive mural at Ehlert Park and the dragonfly sculpture in downtown Brookfield.
You can purchase a duck for $5 each at First National Bank of Brookfield, 9136 Washington Ave.; Loca Mocha, inside the Prairie Avenue Metra station at 8858 Burlington Ave.; the Brookfield Farmers Market in the parking lot of the Brookfield Village Hall, 8820 Brookfield Ave., on Sept. 21 beginning at 8 a.m.; and at the Brookfield Fine Arts Festival prior to the race.
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