Rain or shine, Linn Creek Art Festival a hit

A combination of art, food, fun and music proved to be irresistible to a crowd of all ages who turned out for the Linn Creek Arts Festival Sunday.

The stately grounds of Marshalltown’s Fisher Community Center played host to the event, which allowed approximately 75 exhibitors, from authors to jewelers to photographers, an opportunity to display their talents.

Sponsoring the event for the fifth consecutive year was the Marshall County Arts & Cultural Alliance.

Iowans comprised a significant majority of the exhibitors, with others from Illinois, Minnesota and Nebraska.

As two customers picked through piles of colorful and thick rag rugs, weaver Cindy Mennenga of Hampton said she has been recycling discarded sheets, towels and pieces of flannel into the sturdy product for 21 years.

“I’ve been a member of the green movement a long time,” she said.

Mennenga said she attends eight or nine shows per year, with one in Brookings, S.D. a favorite.

“I like the people who attend this show,” she said. “They are laid back and friendly.”

Pat Petersen from DeWitt was watching customers check out her jewelry line with daughter Jen Miller of Des Moines, who works with her.

They have attended the Linn Creek event before.

“We work shows between DeWitt and Des Moines,” Petersen said.

Grandson Mike Miller, 9, was helping too.

“I like art and I like the (Marshalltown YMCA-YWCA) Tumblebus,” he said, pointing to the bright yellow and red former school bus parked nearby.

Authors also seemed to be doing a brisk business.

Mike Chapman of Newton and Rekha Basu of Des Moines were busy signing books and answering questions from customers and fans.

Chapman, a retired newspaperman, has written 23 biographies, and had several on display.

Debbie Lindeman had purchased several copies of Chapman’s “Lowell Park,” about Ronald Reagan, and waited patiently as Chapman signed each.

Lindeman said she is a voracious book reader, with historical novels her favorite.

Basu, a well-known Des Moines Register columnist, had “Finding Her Voice” a collection of many of her columns about women and their struggles and triumphs dealing with prejudice, sexism and immigration experiences.

Additionally, she had copies of her late husband Rob Borselino’s book “So I’m Talkin’ to this Guy …”

He was a Register columnist as well, before passing away seven years ago.

“Captain” Julie “The Story Teller” Daugherty, of Marshalltown, dressed in a colorful pirate’s outfit, caught the attention of many a fest goer on the grounds, as did her husband “Captain William” (Dave) Daugherty. The popular entertainers had two performances lined up for kids.

“This is what we do on weekends and on summer vacations,” Julie said.

Between shows, the two walked about entertaining youngsters.

“You have the best beads of the show,” said attendee Shari Grace, of Marshalltown, to jeweler Jane Easterbrook, of West Des Moines, as the artist worked on a new project. Easterbrook said she has been an artist for 15 years, going to shows and making jewelry in her spare time. She works as a nurse full time.

Easterbrook said the economy was “horrible” for artists like herself. “Jewelry is a luxury item and a number of people do not have the extra income,” she said.

Consequently, Easterbrook said she has limited the number of shows to attend. The cost of gasoline is another expense which determines participation, she said.

Brittany Mangan and Paige Scott of Marshalltown, event co-chairs, coordinated the effort with volunteers from 11 sub-committees and others. It was Mangan’s second turn as co-chair.

Categories and winners of the Linn Creek Art Festival were:

Best of Show: Diane Mattern, Omaha, Neb., metals/mixed media.

Two dimensional: First place-Mike Mittermeier, Urbandale, drawing/painting. Second place-Misao Fishwick, Oskaloosa, drawing/painting.

Three dimensional: First place-Joe Lacina, Gladbrook, wood.

Second place-Mel Meyers, Spencer, clay.

Honorable Mention: Man Ho Cho, Webster City, clay; Jennifer Lawler, Des Moines, jewelry; Nancy McWherter, Cedar Rapids, concrete leaves; and Bob Anderson, Pella, pottery.

Judges were Kim Behm, assistant professor of art at Hawkeye Community College, Waterloo, Mary Huber, director emeritus, Hearst Center for the Arts, Cedar Falls. and Melissa Stenstrom, artist and art instructor, Des Moines Area Community College, Ankeny.