The Wasco Recreation and Parks District held its first annual 2022 Art Festival at Barker Park. Guests enjoyed a jam-packed day of creative activities and performances in all artistic genres, including dance, music, live painting and singing.
Vendors also sold an array of arts and crafts and tasty food like pastries, tacos, bacon-wrapped hot dogs, aguas frescas (fresh Mexican cold drinks), kettle corn and funnel cakes.
Alice Meyer said it was a great event.
"The art was amazing, and the music selection and bands were awesome. People were dancing, and I can't wait to come back again next year."
There were dance performances.
Giselle Ponce was there with her baile folklórico club, Escuela de Unidas, honoring Día de los Muertos, where one remembers those that have passed away, keeping their memory alive.
"What I love about the art of Mexican dancing is that it is traditional and a celebration of my culture."
Monica Adams, an art teacher at Wasco Independence High School, was there with some students creating a 7-by-7-foott picture in chalk.
"It's a fantastic experience."
She added, "Art is important to have in your life because it is a healthy outlet. I have always turned to it; many of my students do too."
The atmosphere was friendly and family orientated.
"It was nice to enjoy the good weather with friends and family. The kids are having fun entertaining themselves with painting activities," Sara Barreras said.
Hermelinda Mendoza said, "I think the festival is incredible. It is good to see people out supporting local artists."
Chris Serna, district manager for the WRPD, said, "It was nice to see that there was a lot of colorful and beautiful art throughout the park."
Art was on display that was created by those that took the WRPD art classes earlier in the year.
"It was like an outdoor galley," Serna said.
Guests agreed art can play an uplifting role in life.
"I came with my daughter. She really enjoyed painting. It is a healthy distraction and helps develop her imagination," Rosalia Martinez said. "I think it makes her a better student in school and brings her a lot of happiness."
Mayor Gilberto Reyna gave a presentation about the importance of art in society.
"We know that we can communicate our unique emotions, thoughts, and experiences to others by creating art. Studies have shown that creating art can improve our mental health and brain elasticity," Mayor Reyna said.
He cited Seminole State College, "When you see another's art, you see the world through their eyes. When you create, you're letting the world see through yours."
Miss Wasco Rose Queen Ensley Mehlberg attended and performed a routine she presented at the talent section of the pageant.
"I sang and danced to a song from the Disney movie 'Frozen.' Singing is my favorite art form," Mehlberg said.
One particular highlight from the event was the family painting party, where there were over 500 participants of all ages.
It was the idea of local artist Jesus Rodriguez.
"This was an opportunity for them to explore something they may have never done before."
Participants were tasked with turning the baseball field into a field of flowers using their canvas as pedals in groups of six. A drone filmed from above creating an ariel sculpture you could see from the sky.
Serna said the goal was to provide kids and families a free event where they would have a canvas, a brush and paint, and the finale, an original one-of-a-kind painting.
Rodriguez said, "I was impressed by the talent I saw today. We hope to do this event again next year."
The festival came at the right time.
"I think it's nice they did this event, especially in light of the recent shootings. It's nice to come together and demonstrate that Wasco is a safe community," Dulce Aceves shared.
Kayla Castillo, the chairperson of the WRPD board, said, "The community needed this. It has been a rough month, and it feels normal again."
She added, "It's nice to have everybody out again having fun and feeling safe."