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Fine arts fair in Portage builds momentum

Cyndie McKinney Portage straightens jewelry her booth Saturday during Harvest Festival Fine Arts Fair Portage which continues Sunday. | Sun-Times

Cyndie McKinney of Portage straightens the jewelry at her booth Saturday during the Harvest Festival Fine Arts Fair in Portage, which continues Sunday. | Sun-Times Media

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If you go

The third annual Harvest Festival Fine Arts Fair continues from noon to 5 p.m. Sunday at Woodland Park, 2100 Willowcreek Road, Portage. Admission is free.

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Updated: November 7, 2013 6:53AM



PORTAGE — For Cyndie McKinney, creating jewelry is a hobby and a way to make Christmas gifts for her family.

Saturday, she had her jewelry, with stones and semiprecious gems, for sale at the third annual Harvest Festival Fine Arts Fair, the only art show she does. She participated last year, too.

“I think it’s great Portage is trying to get artsy,” McKinney said of her hometown.

Artists of all kinds took part in the festival, which continues Sunday at Woodland Park. Photographers, woodcarvers, painters and stone sculptors also had their wares on display for the juried fair. The event also features wine tasting, fine chocolate, and other treats.

About 21 artists from throughout the region are taking part in this year’s fair, said Pam Passera, program director for Portage Parks and Recreation, which puts together the event. Around 1,000 people attended last year, a number Passera would like to eventually double.

Portage had a fine arts fair several years ago and Passera decided to bring one back. She worked with a representative from the Chesterton Art Center to get things going. “It’s just evolved into what it is now.”

Susan Henshaw of Union Pier, Mich., juries the art fair. She looks for quality and variety, the body of an artist’s work, and how it presents in a booth in making her selections

“It’s always tough to get a show started. You just throw it out there,” she said. “It builds over time.

The wine and chocolate, as well as live music, also help build the event by making it a destination that hopefully will grow each year, she said.

The wine and the chocolate were part of the draw for Carol Dobrolecki of Hobart and her granddaughter, Mallorie Spencer of Portage. The pair was looking over McKinney’s jewelry when the said they’d already bought some chocolate. Spencer heard about the fair from a friend who attended it last year, so she decided to check it out.

“We’re both into crafts, so not only do you want to purchase things, but it gives you ideas of what you can do yourself,” Dobrolecki said.



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