Arts festival draws visitors rain and shine

San Marco area residents turned out for the annual Arts Festival on the Square, despite Saturday’s brisk weather and thanks to Sunday’s very sunny contrast. The Square was lively with early holiday shoppers, baby strollers and dog walkers, and folks just enjoying the warm day. And, it was an opportunity for San Marco Preservation Society president Diane Martin to talk about the positive changes around the corner.

“Lots of people stopped by the SMPS booth to see the drawings of the changes, and everyone is very excited! Balis Park will be expanded to become a beautiful, larger park, with almost twice as much green space,” said Martin. “When the left turn lane and signal are removed and replaced with grass, the Lion fountain will be in the same park as the gazebo, and pedestrians will no longer have to cross seven lanes of traffic to get to the other side. San Marco will be more pedestrian friendly, and motorists will finally be aware that pedestrians have the right of way!”
San Marco residents Bill and Maryjane Morell, who purchased a brick for the Lion fountain to support Balis Park, have been regulars at the festival for as long as it’s been offered. “You’ll find some of the nicest things here that you won’t see just anywhere,” said Bill Morell. Apparently John and Jill Mero of St. Nicholas agree: “We’re not leaving until we buy something. We just have to narrow it down!” First timers Patrick and Marty Kern, who live just around the corner, came to the festival both days and said they love it.

It wasn’t just the festival’s vendors who moved product for two days. Merchants around the Square also reaped the benefits of the destination event, showing their wares to visitors from inside and outside the San Marco area. Debbie Jones and her daughter Summer enjoyed sampling at Ana Hernandez’s All Spiced Up shop of gourmet spices, condiments and honey.

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