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Poulsbo Arts Festival ready to paint the town

POULSBO — As the Poulsbo Arts Festival prepares to chalk up another year in existence, Little Norway readies to once again transform with the stroke of a brush into a lively venue for the arts.

The Cultural Arts Foundation Northwest is celebrating the more creative side of life with this year’s extended, bigger-than-ever event Aug. 17-19 at Poulsbo’s Waterfront Park. Activities start rolling at noon Aug. 17, and live music is set to kick the party into high gear at 6 p.m. that evening. Dozens of artists, crafters, dancers and musicians will follow all weekend long.

“This year we extended it to three days,” CAFNW president Greg Enright said of the event, formerly known as Arts by the Bay. “Typically people stay away from downtown Poulsbo on weekends. This way people can come before the weekend crowd and enjoy the festival and downtown merchants.”

Local bands will be performing original tunes, while food booths, raffles and a children’s interest area round out the entertainment.

“We’ve got a nice group of arts and crafts people,” Enright said. “Now that the park is redone it’s going to be even nicer.”

With the event’s new and improved festivities comes a new name, which was chosen to offer better recognition for its location. CAFNW board member Noelle Osborn said she hopes the refurbished event will help raise even more money to fund the artistic scholarships the foundation offers.

“We dusted it off and gave it a new coat of paint,” she said.

Osborn said funds raised during the event, which allows artists to rent booth space, goes toward scholarships that provide upstart artisans and art-inclined students the opportunity to create.

“This all goes toward our scholarships,” she said. “It’s very important, the expression, connection, conversation that comes through art.”

Osborn said recent cuts to school art programs have created a greater demand for the foundation’s contributions.

“We find that there is a need for it,” she said. “We’d like to try and fill the gap as much as we can.”

Enright said the festival also attempts to avoid any parking difficulties other events may create.

“It’s a nice, small show,” he said. “We only take nine to 10 parking spots ... We actually leave kind of a small footprint. My goal is to work with (downtown business owners) and be very conscious of the parking issue.”

Poulsbo City Councilwoman Connie Lord said she will be attending the event, and looks forward to it each year.

“That’s a great festival,” she said. “Everybody anticipates it because it’s been happening for so long... I think people genuinely just love these outdoor festivals.”

Lord said creating venues for area artists to display their works offers a great opportunity.

“The idea is to get locals as much as possible,” she said. “The more art shows, the better.”

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