Spunk on dis­play — oh, and art as well

Boul­der City park turnout shows re­silience

Las Vegas Review-Journal (Sunday) - - NEVADA & THE WEST - By Heidi Knapp Rinella

BOUL­DER City’s an­nual Art in the Park was bu­colic as usual Satur­day. As chimes tin­kled in the gen­tle breezes and peo­ple me­an­dered be­tween booths of­fer­ing ev­ery­thing from fine-art paint­ings to clever crafts, those at­tend­ing were rev­el­ing in the usu­ally mun­dane as­pects of life and not fo­cus­ing on the hor­rors of the Strip mas­sacre that started their week.

But the 58 peo­ple killed and hun­dreds in­jured were not for­got­ten, and Steve and Alyssa Hale were proof. As they pushed a stroller car­ry­ing their baby daugh­ter, Anea, the cou­ple wore “Ve­gas Strong” ben­e­fit T-shirts sold by the Du­rango High School girls vol­ley­ball team.

The shoot­ings hit the third- and fourth-gen­er­a­tion Ne­vadans hard. Friends had at­tended the Route 91 Har­vest Fes­ti­val on Sun­day but es­caped un­harmed. And a pa­tient at the med­i­cal of­fice where Alyssa Hale works was killed.

But they said they never con­sid­ered skip­ping the fam­ily’s an­nual tra­di­tion, and Steve Hale said he’d been grat­i­fied by the com­mu­nity’s re­sponse.

“Just see­ing the town come out has been huge,” he said. “Even liv­ing here, we for­get that it’s our town, not just a place for peo­ple to visit.”

Ammy Miller doesn’t live in Las Ve­gas any­more, but she did for 16 years. And while man­ning her Burses by Ammy booth with hand­made purses adorned with book cov­ers, she ex­plained the “Ne­vada Strong” on her nearby chalk­board.

“I came back down here al­most the day it hap­pened,” Miller said. “It has af­fected every­one I know. It hit hard.”

Miller said she’d been a lit­tle con­cerned about the show, since it was “an­other big gath­er­ing.”

“I was hop­ing Ne­vada would pull to­gether and say, ‘No, we’re not go­ing to be afraid of this,’ ” she said.

And that’s ap­par­ently just what it did. Tom Ma­her, CEO of Boul­der City Hos­pi­tal, said it’s dif­fi­cult to get an ac­cu­rate at­ten­dance count — Art in the Park doesn’t charge ad­mis­sion — but it didn’t drop off, and he ex­pected at least 100,000 over the week­end.

“I have to tell you this is the most traf­fic com­ing into the fes­ti­val in the 11 years I have been do­ing it,” he said. “That was heart­warm­ing. Driv­ing in, I felt like I was go­ing to a NASCAR race at the Speed­way.”

While he won­dered if the mood would be sub­dued, that didn’t seem to be the case.

“Peo­ple are smil­ing and laugh­ing and jok­ing and are very ac­tive out here,” he said.

Ma­her said or­ga­niz­ers didn’t con­sider can­cel­ing the event in part be­cause of the in­vest­ments made by the 330 par­tic­i­pat­ing artists and ar­ti­sans. And Ray and Colleen Dossy never con­sid­ered not show­ing up. The cou­ple, who live in Lake­side in San Diego County, Cal­i­for­nia, were sell­ing ce­ramic or­na­men­tal door­bells, fan pulls, triv­ets, mir­rors and the like. Asked if he had any hes­i­ta­tion about at­tend­ing, Ray Dossy said, “none what­so­ever.”

“I wouldn’t give them the ben­e­fit of scar­ing us away,” Dossy said.

Fair­go­ers Jean Query, Alice Dou­glas, Mel Gue­vara and Joe Raba agreed, and like Dossy they con­sid­ered it a ter­ror­ist at­tack. In­ter­rupted in the midst of a bud­getary squab­ble over some or­na­men­tal metal pieces, Dou­glas said, “We can’t live our life be­ing scared. If we do, then they win.”

“You’ve got to go on with your life,” Query said.

Raba had a firm note of sat­is­fac­tion as he walked away:

“Evil loses.”

Gabriella Be­navidez Las Ve­gas Re­view-Jour­nal @lati­na_ish

Art in the Park fes­ti­val pa­trons mill around the Boul­der City park grounds Satur­day. Com­ing on the heels of the Strip mass shoot­ing days ear­lier, the event at­tracted a siz­able crowd.

From left, Ana-Michele John­son, 16, Alexan­der Met­zger, 18 and Michael Dono­hue, 18, look at smaller prints of artist David Lozeau’s work dur­ing the Boul­der City fes­ti­val. Gabriella Be­navidez Las Ve­gas Re­view-Jour­nal @lati­na_ish

Mu­si­cian Randy White sings “My Girl” dur­ing Satur­day’s fes­ti­val in Boul­der City.

Hand­blown glass pump­kins from Mad Art Glass, on dis­play dur­ing Art in the Park.

Con­ner Tegeda, 8, plays with a pup­pet Satur­day dur­ing the Art in the Park fes­ti­val in Boul­der City.

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