Children and adults help ‘paint’ park for arts event

Published 12:00 am Sunday, May 11, 2003

NATCHEZ &045; About 300 children and adults painted the town &045; literally &045; during the annual Arts in the Park at Memorial Park on Saturday.

&uot;We’ve been here painting faces all day,&uot; 9-year-old Abby Dillard of Natchez said.

Faces weren’t the only things being painted: Children also participated in a sidewalk chalk drawing contest around the fountain, which was the focus of the event.

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Arts in the Park began as a way to beautify the park and restore the 100-year-old fountain, Tammi Mullins, executive director of the Downtown Development Association, said.

&uot;It will cost about $80,000 to restore the fountain,&uot; she said.

Statues of four little boys will also be purchased to display around the fountain.

In addition to restoring the fountain, Mullins said picnic tables and trashcans have been placed in the park.

Another focus of the day’s events was all about the kids.

&uot;It’s kind of a kids day and exposing them to some different kinds of art,&uot; Mullins said.

Along with face painting and chalk drawing, kids and adults could make homemade picture frames, beaded necklaces or just hand-paint a picture.

Another point of interest for twins Elizabeth and Catherine Schmitz of Natchez was the Backroads Band.

&uot;They’re cool and play good music,&uot; Elizabeth said as she sat listening in front of the band.

&uot;The music is great,&uot; Catherine said.

Other musical entertainment included Burnley Cook and his calliope, Maggie Brown and the children’s choir from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette.

Artist Kay Browning was on hand for the event, as well as Sam Jones, who took the role as Dr. Seuss and provided story telling for children. McGruff the Crime Dog appeared to provide safety tips.

Food was also a big hit for the day.

Denise Case of Natchez said enjoyed that &uot;everything was reasonably priced.&uot;

Hot dogs and hamburgers could be gobbled up for $2, and animal hats were sold for just a quarter.

The animal hats, which Case sported, were made by volunteers due to the theme of the event &045; &uot;Hat off to Arts in the Park.&uot;