Art on the Bay coming this weekend

About 150 vendors will converge this weekend in Alpena’s Bay View Park for the 41st annual Art on the Bay. This popular fine art and crafts extravaganza sponsored by Thunder Bay Arts Council attracts new artists every year while also featuring many who keep coming back because of the positive experience.

“We have some new vendors this year and we’re excited to welcome them to Alpena. We also welcome many returning favorites,” said TBAC member Ann Diamond.

Art on the Bay will take place Saturday from 10 a.m.-6 p.m. and Sunday from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Among the returnees when the show opens Saturday will be leather artist Bonnie Dienes of West Branch.

“I like the area, I like the people and I like the location of the park it’s held in,” Dienes said. “I’ve been doing Art on the Bay for quite a few years, close to 10.”

She and her husband, John, create leather belts, wallets, key fobs and barrettes. They only take part in a few shows over the summer months, but they work on their inventory all year long. The couple, who appreciate the repeat customers visiting their booth, offer a wide variety of designs that they add to year after year.

“We do have repeat customers, and that’s a good thing. Our quality is very good, and we depend on those repeat customers,” Dienes said.

Debbie McMaster of Wixom, who specializes in linked jewelry in the form of necklaces, bracelets and earrings, appreciates the effort TBAC puts into organizing Art in the Bay.

“The organization is fabulous. It’s a lot of work to put on a show. When you’ve got good help it’s great,” said McMaster, adding that she appreciates the picturesque location of Bay View Park.

She also crafts rosaries, bookmarks and magnets, and has been a participating vendor for about the last eight straight years after having taken some time off. Her items range in price from $1 up to about $50.

On the lower end are glass magnets she paints with images of small lighthouses, fish and many other designs. She said people like to take them home as a small momento of their time in Alpena. Her most expensive pieces are her rosaries.

Other items shoppers can look forward to at her booth are pendants made from metal and glass, wood or old keys. She’s found a unique source for the wood from which she crafts her wooden pendants: 1960s bamboo placements she purchases and takes apart to paint. The old keys, acquired by the bag full, can be used either as pendants or hung on a Christmas tree as an ornament, she said.

“I do pretty well at the show,” McMaster said. “The customers are really nice and there are always new ones every year because they are vacationing.”

Seasoned vendor Darlene Watkins of White Lake estimates she’s been a participant in Alpena for about 16 years. Not only is the reputation of the art and crafts show a draw for her, but she and her husband also have family in the area so it’s a chance for them to reconnect each summer.

She offers two different product lines: handmade Swarovski crystal jewelry and baby carseat covers made from fleece and sherpa wool. Prices for her jewelry range from $8 to $50 for a variety of necklaces, bracelets and earrings.

The carseat covers run $30. Just like many other vendors, she enjoys visiting with repeat customers who come by to purchase additional pieces.

“We get a lot of people who come back. It might not be the next year, but after a couple of years when they are on their second baby,” Watkins said.

Besides the carseat covers, she stitches up burp cloths, knitted and crocheted hats, and “sensitivity taggie blankets.” The blankets are put together from three kinds of fabric and a variety of ribbons, all with different textures for babies to feel.

According to TBAC member Clint Kendziorski, as always the event will include plenty of good eats. Some live music will be provided both days as well. Both he and Diamond anticipate another strong weekend that coincides with the opening weekend of the Michigan Trout Festival.

“We look forward to great weather and a great atmosphere,” Diamond said. “We thank the community for their support in the past years and look forward to seeing them again for another great Art on the Bay.”

In addition to Kendziorski and Diamond, those serving on the planning committee are Karen McConnell, Anne Nave, Jean Stewart, Carol Murray, Kathleen McGillis, Carol Winslow, Gail Barr and Cheryl Lemke.