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Now that I have recuperated from my heat stroke, I can write to say that our participation at Maryhill Arts Festival was an adventure. It was about 100 degrees all weekend! We all were dehydrating to become the next featured “NWSSA MUMMY EXHIBIT.” There were many fine art and crafts booths to enjoy. Our sculpture area and booth were located in a spot with the intention of being the first exhibit that customers would come to as they entered the festival. But our sculptures looked more like tomb stones standing in the Mojave Desert in the glaring sun! It was much too hot for guests to stand there and view the sculptures in comfort. They took a glance, then headed for the oasis under the trees. We just about had to draw straws to see who got to be the one standing out in the glaring sun to greet the guests in shifts. Of course, we always like to say “Feel free to touch the sculptures.” Are we insured for third degree burns?


We joked to the customers that they had to buy a piece whether they liked it or not, because their hands were fried onto the sculpture! The museum staff felt strongly that the heat possibly cut into having more attendance and sales. People headed for the comfort of air conditioning in the museum. The curator sincerely apologized for the bad placement of our exhibit. Then again, we learn by doing. Next year they intend to move the festival to later in September for cooler weather and less competition with so many art events taking place in August.


Although sales are always something that we anticipate, we have to keep in mind that the purpose for the NWSSA is to educate the public and promote “Stone Sculpture.”


On the positive side, we did sell a few sculptures. It was a nice opportunity for the eleven artists and their spouses to have a chance to visit and get to know each other better. Those that participated were Arliss Newcomb, Elaine Mac Kay, Jim Heltsley, Mark Dahn, Ruth Mueseler,  Joe Conrad, Kalia Gentiloumo, Brian Berman, Leon White, Nicky Oberholtzer, and Gordon McVeigh, who drove from Canada to represent his wife, Dorrit, who was in Europe. Dorrit’s sculpture was the piece chosen for the Festival poster.


Our potluck evenings around the “campfire” pit (made of citronella candles) were irreplaceable with gut wrenching non-stop laughter! The beautiful fiery-orange full moon rising over the cliffs of the Columbia River Gorge nightly turned into a glowing silver smile as it moved higher into the sky, reflecting across the water - unforgettable! Saturday evening the museum hosted a wonderful catered meal in the park from a local Mexican restaurant and wine from a local winery, along with live jazz music for the participants.


It was a delight having Kalia’s little three year old, Ruby, along - allowing us to play at being surrogate uncles and aunties.


There was one hilarious event toward the end. Six of us stayed an extra night due to exhaustion. We were informed that bobcats stroll through the park once in a while! That night, there were about seventy to eighty mile-per-hour winds. I slept out in the open to enjoy the stars. I lay there watching the trees whip wildly waiting to see if any branches were going to crash on me. I could hear some breaking in the distance. All I was able to think about was, “well, I’m going to die from a falling tree limb, or get my face eaten off by a bobcat!” It was about one or two in the morning when I sat up to see these shadowy figures standing all around like aliens among us. Then, we all started laughing, because we were the shadowy figures, all awake for the same reasons! Well, should we head across the river to the truck stop and have blueberry pancakes? We sat there and joked for a while about bobcats and pancakes, but when the wind died down we headed back to our sleeping areas. Everyone was looking forward to being back in our cooler northern abodes. But, our laughter in the face of “danger” on that last night made this year’s Maryhill Arts Festival a memorable adventure!