OSCODA — The 38th Annual Art on the Beach took place on June 25 and 26, on the grounds of the Oscoda Beach Park, with food vendors situated on the basketball court immediately north of the arts and crafts vendors.
Fifty-five vendors participated, many returning from previous shows. Offerings included maple syrup, spices, sausage, nuts, fragrances, jewelry, hats, clothing, fashion accessories, stained glass, lawn, house and garden ornaments, furniture, paintings, notecards, books, and much more.
Vendors came from as far as Lancaster, Ohio, and included participants from Oscoda, East Tawas, Hale, Whittemore, Harrisville, Fairgrove, Grand Blanc and Grand Ledge.
“We had a steady stream of visitors over both days,” said Art on the Beach Co-Chair Gaylynn Brenoel of the Oscoda-AuSable Chamber of Commerce, which sponsors the event every year. “The weather was perfectly warm and sunny, not too much wind.”
When one of the exhibitors stumbled in the parking lot injuring her chin, fellow exhibitor and EMT Jason Lott jumped to her aid, along with Chamber staffers. After a quick trip to the Ascension St. Joseph Hospital for patching up, she returned to her booth to finish the day.
Throughout the weekend, American Business Women’s Association (ABWA) members Judy Kotarak, Annette Dennis, Stephanie Mallak Olson, Judy Biggers, Kris Hanson and Joanne LeTourneau offered free tickets to win a lime green kayak which had been donated by Northland Area Federal Credit Union.
“The Credit Union was honored to participate in the event by donating the kayak,” said Kris Hanson, Northland Business Development Officer and ABWA member.
“I appreciated being asked by the ABWA to draw the winning ticket – from a big bag of entries,” said Co-Chair Brenoel, “and what a roar from the crowd when the winner turned out to be Jason Lott, the same EMT who had earlier assisted our injured exhibitor!”
Brenoel also reported that 25 of the artists and crafters donated a piece of their artwork to the Oscoda VFW to auction for the benefit of two local Marine veterans who had lost their family dog, their house and all contents to a fire in June. “We were blessed to have such a wonderful community of exhibitors,” she said. “Several vendors already signed up for next year. My husband Mick and I saw nothing but smiles as people came and went from the beach.”
Sunday afternoon Art on the Beach attendees were also treated to the arrival of three winning artworks from Oscoda’s “Take Flight” Artist Competition, which were installed on pedestals along the boardwalk, by volunteers from the Art & Placemaking Subcommittee of the Economic Improvement Committee, as part of the larger Oscoda Art Walk, which now displays 21 works on pedestals throughout the downtown area.
Art on the Beach was co-chaired by Gaylynn Brenoel and Vicki Hopcroft, Chamber of Commerce Board members, who agreed to take on the event with just a couple of weeks before it was set to begin.
“We have Gaylynn to thank for our success,” says Hopcroft. “She knows how to hit the ground running, organize, mediate conflict with grace and tact, and keep things going smoothly and happily with no apparent effort. We’re so fortunate to have had her leadership.”
After the 4th of July, the Chamber will start work on the Paul Bunyan Festival, scheduled for Sept. 16-18 at Furtaw Field. The outdoor Take Flight art exhibit will continue so long as weather permits, according to Subcommittee Chair Lain MacKenzie. The indoor Take Flight art exhibit will continue at the Huron Shores Artisan Hall through Aug. 22. The Hall, at 112 N. State Street, Oscoda, is open Sundays from 1-4 p.m., and Monday, Thursday, Friday and Saturdays from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.
For more information about Oscoda – AuSable events, sign up for free for the Chamber’s eBlast, by providing your email to the Oscoda – AuSable Chamber of Commerce. Visit its Facebook page “Oscoda-AuSable Chamber of Commerce,” its website oscodachamber.com, or contact Coordinator, Deb Sutton at 989-739-7322.