It’s an art fest. It’s a food fest. It’s a summer extravaganza of Inland Northwest talent a mere five minute walk from the Coeur d’Alene Resort. Three annual festivals – Art on the Green, Taste of Coeur D’Alene and the Coeur d’Alene Street Fair – fill the lake city’s parks and streets with over 400 arts, crafts, retail and food booths on August 4, 5, and 6.
I can’t help but think the term “stay-cation” was invented for a three-day art, food, music, sunshine, lakeside festival like this. What a perfect time to book a long weekend escape at the Coeur d’Alene Resort so you can leisurely take in all three events, enjoy a little spa time (shopping is hard work!) or post-festival cocktails at Whispers overlooking the lake. And when day is done, you can slide the Resort’s light blocking curtains closed for a good night’s sleep, wake up the next morning so refreshed you’ll be ready to head out and do it all over again.
One of my favorite things about art festivals is the vendors themselves. Most of them are not shy and they love to tell you about their craft, how they got started and what goes into creating their special pieces. If I’m looking for a unique gift for a hard-to-buy-for person, I can always find it at one of these three fairs. Equally probable, I’ll be able to find something I can’t resist, like a piece of jewelry…a photograph…a ceramic creation…a painting…a fabric wall hanging…yard sculpture…the possibilities are endless.
Art on the Green sprawls across the grassy grounds of North Idaho College. Over 190 vendors display and sell everything from sculpture to paintings to glass, ceramic, leather and fiber art. No ticky-tacky here, juried art is located beneath the big white tent and quality goods curated by the Citizens Council for the Arts fill the surrounding lawns.
This year you’ll have a chance to see (and maybe you will purchase) work by Ben Joyce, Jessica Bryant and Mai Leisz, nationally recognized artists who call the Inland Northwest home. Joyce’s abstract topophilia® will give you pause as you ponder what, exactly, that mixed media abstract is. Then wham! You recognize the aerial views of one of your favorite lakes, or a familiar city or a distant island. Jessica Bryant, Artist in Residence for the National Park Service, will be selling her haunting watercolors that preserve some of the nation’s last best places in subdued, whisper shades of tan, blue, green and cream. One of the festival’s most sought-after artists, Maia Leisz, showcases festive, bold abstracts, still life and landscapes that reflect her love of travel, the outdoors and nature.
Local musicians entertain on center stage, food vendors sell everything from sausages to salads to sandwiches, and a special area is set up for budding child artists where kids can create, get messy and have fun under the helpful eye of instructors.
The Idaho Panhandle Kiwanis sponsors the annual Taste of Coeur d’Alene at nearby City Park. The Kiwanis have been at this for 30 years so you know their 100-plus vendors will showcase some pretty fine food choices from local favorites like Baja Babes, King of Tacos, Southern Corn on the Cobb, Charlie’s Cheese Cake, Eldon’s Sausage and Ekness Catering. You’ll find icy beverages and specialty craft brews in the beer garden, a perfect spot to rest up for the last of the three Coeur d’Alene festivals, the annual Coeur d’Alene Street Fair.
Downtown’s Sherman Avenue is transformed into a pedestrian mall where a staggering 220-plus vendors, retailers and crafters set up tents offering handcrafted and imported goods. Many crafters create on the scene, and downtown’s favorite retailers move their goods onto the sidewalk for endless browsing and buying. From tie-eye to chain saw carvings to kids’ toys and jewelry, the options are endless.
A free shuttle circles the events to make it easy to wander from festival to festival. Admission for all fairs and musical performances is free. Food booths are another matter, of course, and choices run from anything that can be grilled (veggies, chicken, fish and sausages) to ice cream, snow cones, wine, beer, even a health food snack shop. All three festivals run August 4, 5 and 6. Start and finish times vary somewhat but are generally 10am to 7:30pm.