The sun was shining on the 48th annual Lake Oswego Festival of the Arts as large crowds turned out for a weekend full of art, music and food
by: vern uyetake David Miller of Lake Oswego has fun with the large bronze bear sculpture “Day Dreamer II,” at the Fine Arts and Craft Faire Friday at George Rogers Park.

The statistics were excellent for the 48th annual Lake Oswego Festival of the Arts this past weekend, but they don't do justice to explain why the event was such a great success.

Attendance estimates went as high as 24,000 visitors for the three-day event. There were 140 pieces of art sold for $50,000. Donations at the doors were strong.

But Tris Denton, a member of the FOA executive committee and a devotee of the festival since she was a girl, perhaps put it best.

'The synergy is so cool,' Denton said.

Synergy as in the whole town of Lake Oswego.

Andrew Edwards, executive director for the Lakewood Center for the Arts, said, 'What is great about the festival is how many people in Lake Oswego work to put it on. Very few cities have such a tight, cohesive group.

'We have 550 volunteers. That's just incredible,' he said.

The weather for this year's FOA was perfect.

'I engineered it,' Edwards said jokingly before adding, 'We were extremely blessed. Great weather helps everybody.'

There was much else to be thankful for, including the demonstrations by artists, the large number of docents and curators, great contributions from Lake Oswego merchants, and a bus service that brought in up to 4,000 patrons, a 20 percent increase from 2010.

Edwards was pleased that moves by the steering committee paid off, including changing the craft fair and specific displays of art.

'People not only learn about artists here, they get to meet artists,' Edwards said. 'It's a fun way to get an art education.'

The FOA even got an unexpected plug on ESPN when professional lacrosse player Connor Martin, also a member of the band Con Bro Chill, was interviewed after being the hero of the Denver Outlaw's 18-11 victory over the Long Island Lizards.

'He told everybody he was going to be playing a concert in Lake Oswego,' Edwards said.

'Our entertainment was stellar,' said event chairman Steve Call. 'We had six performers there who are in the Oregon Music Hall of Fame.'

Call was extremely gratified by the FOA's success, even though there was plenty of competition from other events on this sunny weekend, including a balloon festival in Tigard.

'We met all expectations,' Call said.

The steering committee will meet every week to plan for the 2012 festival, but it will be hard for them not to sneak a peak at the golden anniversary in 2013.

'We're always looking at how we can improve next year,' Call said.

'This festival is like a machine that runs itself,' Denton said. 'It gets better and better. Everyone is on the same page.'

So for the FOA, it appears that things will go from cool, cooler, to coolest for the 50th anniversary.

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