ALCOLA — The Redbank Valley Public Library’s Art in the Park’s venue change to the Redbank Valley Municipal Park was appreciated by vendors. Sheltered from last Saturday’s chilly and overcast weather inside the skating rink in Alcola, near New Bethlehem, representatives from area organizations and small businesses enjoyed warm and dry conditions.
Paula Hanna, Clarion County’s early intervention program supervisor for the Center for Community Resources, had a comfortable spot on the perimeter of the exhibit space.
“My organization specializes in early intervention programs for families,” she said. “We help families identify possible developmental delays in their children and get them into programs at an early stage. Today is a good opportunity to tell the community about our services.”
At the next table, Elizabeth Brooks and her mother, Jennifer Mineweaser, presided over a table laden with goodies. Brooks, a junior at Redbank Valley High School, established Koins and Kookies for K-9s as part of a school project to raise funds for the care and training of police canine candidates.
“Elizabeth has taken her project to the next level and will be a vendor at the Laurel Festival in Brookville. I only encouraged her. She has done the majority of the work,” Mineweaser said.
“I want to do more than was required for the project. It’s a way of giving back to the community,” Brooks said.
On the other side of the centrally located exhibition space, Regina Westover was eager to share the origins of her home-based business, Memory Bears. The New Bethlehem area woman talked about the beginning of a hobby that took on another life.
“My mother-in-law passed away a few years ago, and I made several bears out of some her clothing for relatives. I had sewn other toys and animals, but I had to struggle a little with the bears. Before I knew it, I was making them for other people, too.”
Westover said the commemorative bears are usually made in memory of someone who has died, but she has made more than a few for people wanting to remember happier occasions as well.
Near the skating rink’s door, Cindy and Denny Morgan shared a table with area quilter and artist, Darla Kennemuth. The self-taught artist has been getting quite a bit of local recognition lately because of her detailed pen-and-ink renderings of historic buildings. On Saturday, one of her more traditional hand-stitched applique quilts was on display, the prize for some lucky winner of the Redbank Valley Historical Society’s latest fundraiser.
“This is what I usually made before people started asking about my quilts with the old buildings,” she said. “I wish I had time to do hand-quilting now, but I am very busy these days.”
The Morgans were more than happy to talk about the historical society’s upcoming “big book” of the area’s heritage, a contemporary history of the Redbank Valley region telling the story of the region since the 1870s-era Caldwell’s History and Atlas of Clarion County.
Laura Neiswonger, usually seen in the display room of RMS Furniture in New Bethlehem, stood smiling amid a table and several display racks of Thirty-One merchandise. The handbags, totes, satchels and similar accessories are popular fashion accessories for women.
“Today gives me a chance to get out of the store and see people who do not come into the furniture store very often,” she said. “During certain times of the year, I will take my Thirty-One merchandise to events like this one.”
Overall, exhibitors said they enjoyed being inside during a damp and chilly spring day, all too common this year. Before its move to the RVMP, Art in the Park was held in Gumtown Park along Water Street in New Bethlehem.