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Artists, Patrons Withstand Heat for Arts Festival

Arts Festival, blood drive and new exhibit at the Heritage Center drew hundreds to downtown Grayslake.

The sweltering heat Saturday afternoon did not keep everyone indoors. Hundreds turned out to downtown Grayslake for the Chamber of Commerce 17th Annual Arts Festival.

A diverse group of 45 vendors set up shop along Center Street offering their wares for sale including stained glass, pottery, watercolor and oil paintings, sculptures, ceramics, jewelry and more.

Local artist Doris Monti of Grayslake brought her pictures, a combination of pastels, watercolors, oils and prints. It was her first show in 15 years.

“There’s so much art, but really not so much drawings and paintings,” Monti said as she easily sketched a storefront in her view. “I’ve been drawing since I was three and realized I could actually make money off of this after I retired from my other job seven years ago.”

A few tents down shoppers may have felt like they were being watched. The clay and ceramic faces turned bird houses are the talents of Therese Kobel of Wildwood.

“More than 15 years ago my daughter brought home some clay from her ceramics class and the rest was history,” Kobel said. Now she hand-sculpts gargoyles and faces, and paints them into outdoor bird houses.

“These are good because the squirrels make the holes too big on the wooden bird house,” she added.

Marilyn Hinz of Green Bay was manning the Rock Solid Creations stand. The vases are made of slate and Brazilian Agate and prove a unique way to display flowers or serve as a candle holder.

Hinz said she heard about the Grayslake festival by word of mouth. And, that seems to be what keeps the business going.

“A lot of people like different things so it’s been good for us,” Hinz said. “We had someone who bought a piece from us last year come back to buy several.”

Also on display were pieces created by Grayslake high school students. Ten pieces of art were selected from and as the purchase award winners.

The artwork will be on display at the schools for five years, and then be returned to their owners.

With 11 area sponsors and music provided by local bands, organizers said this festival always draws a crowd.

“We’ve come from 12 vendors along one block to up to 70 vendors down the streets of Grayslake. We’ve really grown and have had the help of the community to do that,” said Roger Lutz, chairman of the Arts Festival Board.

Along with the Festival the held a blood drive, collecting 52 units of blood, a record for that station.

Battalion Chief Joris Lillage said blood donations are important at all times, not just during a crisis. He said the department has been using social media to get the word out about blood drives that they host.

The also unveiled its new exhibit, artwork by three local artists: Charles Oglesby Longabaugh, Willadene L. Nicholas and Jean Korell, who is still painting at the age of 95.

The 23 watercolors and two pen and ink drawings will be on display until November 3.

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