The 2012 Omaha Summer Arts Festival may live on for years in the stuff people acquired there.
Whether they be paintings, jewelry, photographs or pottery, some will hang on walls, around necks or stand on shelves for a long time to come.
Samantha Capelli's acquisition will not be among those, however. Capelli, 19, got swept up in the carnival feel of the downtown festival and bought a large bag of caramel corn.
“I was just gonna buy a small, but they only had a large left, so they gave it to me for medium-sized price,” the Omahan said. “It's just the atmosphere and the mood that made me get it.”
Besides the work of 136 artists from 27 states, the festival along the Gene Leahy Mall includes musicians, food and a children's zone, where young visitors may draw with crayons and chalk, blow bubbles and have their faces painted.
Festival spokeswoman Stacy Maddux said she hoped close to 100,000 people would attend the three-day event, which concludes today.
Tom Campbell bought books for his class at Ackerman Elementary in west Omaha. The fourth-grade teacher has been at his profession for more than 35 years and by now has a good feel for what children like to read.
He purchased the kids' books “Miss Alaineus” and “Zoom” at the Omaha Public Library tent, where book prices range from 25 cents to $1.50.
“That's our only purchases so far,” Campbell said.
Kent Templien bought a colorful print depicting funny-looking reptiles sitting around a campfire. He was sure his 8-year-old daughter would love it.
“It's all about the kids, isn't it?” Templien said. “And the wife's buying all kinds of jewelry.”
Teresa Merriman of Westcliffe, Colo., creates journals from leather and handmade paper. Her booth was all tans and browns, including the shirt she wore.
Then she astonished those nearby when she reached down and held up a tiny Chihuahua named Thunder. All 1.9 pounds of Thunder nuzzled Merriman.
Randy Crist, a math professor at Creighton University, wrote a check for close to $70 and came away with a handcrafted journal in which he'll jot ideas. “It's enjoyable to have it recorded in a nice place,” he said.
Crist and his wife, Deanna, also bought three small paintings from artist Andy Fletcher, a Wisconsinite who paints vast open spaces and farm scenes.
Carol Dorn of Lincoln came to Omaha to watch the Mutual of Omaha Swimvitational, a pre-Olympic Trials competition, then attended the Summer Arts Festival with relatives.
She fell for a painting that featured a fashionable woman wearing a hat.
“I always buy art that just jumps out at me and screams, ‘Take me home,''' she said. And that is what she did.
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