Artists set for 18th annual fair

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BETHEL – The town’s common will be crowded with talent on Saturday as the 18th annual Bethel Art Fair gets under way.

About 50 artists will attend the event, which kicks off at 9 a.m. on the Bethel Common.

“We’ve had many returning ones who obviously feel like they’re doing well, because they return year after year,” said Julia Reuter, officer manager with the Bethel Chamber of Commerce, of the artists.

Among them is Army National Guard Staff Sgt. Randall Rickards, who recently returned from a year of service in Iraq.

Art works that will be up for sale, include paintings, photographs, sculptures, handmade jewelry, woven goods and woodenware.

“It’s definitely fine art,” said Reuter.

The fair will also feature an inflatable sculpture made by George York and given to the fair compliments of the Mahoosuc Arts Council. According to Reuter, the sculpture has appeared at the fair for about 10 years.

“You don’t jump on it,” she said, “it’s just something to see.”

During the morning, local organizations will have baked goods for sale. There will also be a cookie walk to allow visitors to pick out a selection of cookies.

At 11 a.m., Jim McLaughlin & Friends will begin a musical performance at the gazebo. The group, which consists of McLaughlin, Denny Breau and Tom Zicarelli, will play until 2 p.m.

“They’ll do a mix of jazz, pop, and rock and roll,” said Reuter.

Lunch will be available on the common from 11 a.m. until 3 p.m. Liam’s Restaurant, Rooster’s Roadhouse, the Victoria Inn & Restaurant, Bethel’s Best Pizza Grille and Dairy Bar, and the Bethel Fire Department will all serve food on the common, and area restaurants will be open as well.

Throughout the day, the Mahoosuc Kids Association will put on children’s art events, including card and mask making.

Several artists have donated pieces for a Bethel Chamber of Commerce raffle, and the winners will be announced at 3:30 p.m. Tickets cost a dollar apiece.

The fair ends at 4 p.m., but a fireworks display will commence at 9:15 p.m. behind the Bethel Inn.

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