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Event ‘goes young’

Mary Kolodzinski (right) pours wine sample for Ann Thomas Merrillville Anderson's Vineyards   Winery booth during Harvest Festival WoodlPark

Mary Kolodzinski (right) pours a wine sample for Ann Thomas of Merrillville at the Anderson's Vineyards & Winery booth during the Harvest Festival at Woodland Park in Portage, Ind., on Oct. 6, 2012. | Stephanie Dowell~Sun-Times Media

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For more on programs offered by Portage Parks and Recreation Department, call 762-1675, or go to www.ci.portage.in.us/department/?fDD=8-0.

Updated: November 17, 2012 6:07AM



Emily Hensley, a sophomore at Portage High School, got the chance to participate in her first juried art show during the second annual Harvest Festival.

This was the first time the Portage festival invited students from area high schools to take part in the competition. Hensley, 16, was one of three students in the show, which featured 15 artists.

Hensley’s booth showed off her handmade jewelry, which included semi-precious stones and chain mail.

“I’ve been in other contests before for other subjects,” she said. “This was a little nerve-wracking, but not that bad.”

In all, 21 artists applied to be in the recent show in Oakwood Hall at Woodland Park. The event also featured wine tasting from area wineries and gourmet food, plus live entertainment.

“We really wanted to do an art show in Portage, and one hadn’t been done in a long time,” said Pam Passera, recreation program coordinator with the Portage Parks and Recreation Department, which sponsored the Harvest Festival.

St. John artist Rita Berg, who also had a booth at the festival and is active with the Chesterton Art Center, helped organize the event. It took about six months to plan the first festival, she said; about 1,000 people came to the first one.

“To me, it was a success because it went so well,” she said.

Organizers hoped for about 1,500 attendees at the second festival, and would like it to continue growing.

Portage resident Judith Price used to take part in juried shows with her artwork and wants to get back into it. For the time being, she went to the Harvest Festival to get ideas for jewelry designs.

She also went to free summer concerts offered by the park department, and enjoyed them.

“It’s time that I take advantage of what Portage has to offer, and I love art,” she said.



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