Downtown Niles will be in motion this weekend

Published 9:56 am Thursday, June 25, 2009

Niles Daily Star

It is time, once again, for what is arguably one of Niles’ most creative events.
Art in Motion returns to downtown Niles this weekend, with artistic activities available for enthusiasts of all ages taking place Friday and Saturday.
This is the fourth year for the event and executive director for Niles Main Street, Lisa Croteau said, “it’s our fourth year and you know in the fourth year you kind of hit a stride.”
That stride is aimed at being bigger and better every year and this year, that includes a larger than life sand sculpture.
“We’re going to have a 20 ton sand sculpture this year,” Croteau said. “It’s going to be at the corner of Second Street and Main.”
The sand arrives in downtown Niles early Friday morning. The sculpture, Croteau said, will be a dragon greeting all of those who spend the weekend watching working artists throughout downtown, at least a dozen planned for so far.
Friday night, from 5 to 9 p.m. there will be a Family Fun Square Dance Party, with special guest and professional caller Ken Burnes.
“It’s fun and it’s art in motion,” said Croteau.
During the Square Dance Party, volunteers for the event are stepping out to grill up hot dogs and make up some sweet, melty s’mores for just $1 each.
And in keeping in step and with the theme of the square dancing, Friday night’s free movie in the park is the 1969 favorite Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, starring Robert Redford and Paul Newman.
Also during the Art in Motion event, artisans will be working live and scattered about different venues throughout downtown and a community art exhibit will be held to showcase various works.
Visitors will also find where art and fun combine with face painting, balloon artists and caricaturists.
Chalk the walk and the Art Car will also return with this year’s event with a couple of visiting artists, Croteau said, creating their own sidewalk chalk art for all to see.
This year will also mark the second Annual Kids Sand Castle Building Competition. And there will be plenty of food, fun and shopping to be done as the Bensidoun French Market will also be fully operational Saturday.
“We hope for it to be quite as exciting for this year as last year – only not for the same reasons,” Croteau said.
Last year, as scores of visitors made their way downtown to take part in the event, they later witnessed one of the most devastating fires to take place downtown in recent years, as Sue’s Hallmark went up in flames, a fire that erupted into a five alarm call and commanded the service of multiple area fire departments.
This year, the hope seems to be that the only thing to leave visitors “awed and amazed” will be the 20 ton sand sculpture – the dragon’s face estimated to come in at a measurement of 10″ x 20.”
Croteau said she is excited to see how the turnout is for this year.