Picnic in the Park returns

This year's concert series adds two shows to lineup, more food and more art
The Mid Oregon Credit Union Picnic in the Park is back for a second year with an expanded concert lineup, more food, and more artists.
   Riders in the Dirt, a band comprised of four female Forest Service professionals with a cowgirl/bluegrass sound will kick off the event Wednesday at 6 p.m.
   One of the goals of the free event is to create venus for the arts in Crook County and bring together artists and music for one combined event, said Bryan Iverson, public relations manager for the Crook County Foundation.
   He said the foundation has been working with local artists to help promote their product as well as promoting the arts themselves in Crook County.
   Faye Taylor of Bunkhouse Studio will be present during the first picnic, painting the scene.
   A diverse lineup of food will be available, so people can enjoy whatever they want to eat in the park, with the focus remaining on the art.
   "We're not necessarily trying to showcase the restaurants," Iverson said. "What we're trying to do is bring people good tasting food at a reasonable price."
   There will be typical fair food vendors as well as some restaurant vendor options.
   The event averaged 400-450 participants last year, and with the number of inquiries to the foundation office and the Parks and Recreation office, as well as the increased advertising the project has received through its media sponsors, Iverson anticipates 600-700 people this year.
   "We really believe the demand is there from the community and we really think the people are going to turn out to check out the bands," he said.
   The duration of the concert series has also been expanded from four shows to six.
   "A goal over the next few years is to keep growing this part of the event to include something for everybody when it comes to art in Crook County," Iverson said. "With the diverse lineup we bring, there is something for everyone out there. The same people can come every week, people who are interested in different types of music. Then there are people who want to come down to blues portion or the classic rock portion or the country portion."
   Iverson said listeners will find something interesting each night, from the unique sound of openers Riders in the Dirt, to the get-up-and-dance feel of Boca Marimba.
   "All were asking people to do is open up there mind for a little bit and try a different type of music," he said. "Especially this week with Riders in the Dirt, I think people will find them to be an interesting music group."
   Crook County Foundation president Kristi Steber said the community support of the event has been outstanding, as have been the sponsors.
   "We want to thank our sponsors and local businesses," she said. "They are what allows us to provide free summer concerts to the community."
   Another reason for the event is to grow awareness for the Crook County Foundation.
   "A lot of people aren't familiar with the three things we do: arts promotion, leadership Prineville, and scholarships," Iverson said.
   He added that the Crook County Foundation will have a booth with information on how the public can utilize the foundation.
   "It's a time for everyone to come out for some good music and visiting, and enjoy the park," Steber said. "And of course, it's free."