Copious Notes

Hacking into Woodland: Some pro-tips for making the most of the Art Fair

The 2018 Woodland Art Fair is Aug. 18 and 19 at Woodland Park in Lexington, Kentucky.
The 2018 Woodland Art Fair is Aug. 18 and 19 at Woodland Park in Lexington, Kentucky.

Summer must be winding down because school has started, and the Woodland Art Fair is here.

Attracting tens-of-thousands of people to Woodland Park each year, the festival is undeniably a local favorite. But it also comes with the quirks and hazards, so I got on the Facebook and asked for some seasoned-Woodland pros to share their tips for making the most of the fest. Here are a few pointers, some obvious and some not so much.

Getting in

Walk, bike or shuttle, but don’t drive in, unless you really need a spike in your blood pressure.

Driving to the site isn’t even really feasible, as several roads immediately around the park are closed. The easiest way to drive in is park at one of the three shuttle stops downtown: the transit center parking lot off High Street between Lexington Avenue and Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard; the Phoenix Building Parking lot at 101 East Vine Street; the Herald-Leader building at 100 Midland Avenue. Shuttles run every 10 minutes.

Larry Porter volunteered as as bike valet during the 39th Annual Woodland Arts Fair at Woodland Park in Lexington, Ky., on Aug. 16, 2014. Pablo Alcala Lexington Herald-Leader

If you are a biking enthusiast, there is a bike check on the racquetball court on the High Street side of the park, managed by Broke Spoke bike shop.

And of course, there’s walking, whether you live nearby and want to stroll in or find a place to park and walk over. For fans of Fitbits and similar devices, this is a great chance to get some steps in.

Photographer Dean Hill of Morgan Co., Ky., unpacked his work at Woodland Park in Lexington, Ky., on Aug. 15, 2014. Pablo Alcala Lexington Herald-Leader

Buying art

A few art buying tips from friends included these:

“If you love it, buy it — it may not be there later,” Pamela Perlman says. This isn’t Target. Most items offered are one of a kind, so you if you walk on by, someone behind you could nab it, and it probably is not going to be available online.

Lexington artist Don Ament suggests doing a broad survey of the park and then “spend quality time with artwork that moves you. Then, spend quality money on same.” He does suggest the fair is a good chance to expand your artistic horizons. Elizabeth Beck says she has a personal rule not to buy anything the first time through so she doesn’t risk blowing her budget before she’s seen everything.

Kevin Lane Dearinger suggests bringing a bag for accumulated purchases, though it’s worth noting artists will often hold items, particularly larger purchases, so you can pick them up when you leave the fair.

Betsy and Lesley Strong look at prints in the Cricket Press booth at the 2013 Woodland Art Fair. Rich Copley Lexington Herald-Leader

Take care of yourself

While this doesn’t look like the scorcher some other Woodlands have been, we’re still in summer, and at press time, temperatures are predicted to be in the 80s both days. So dress comfortably, keep hydrated and don’t overdo it.

A couple friends did suggest leaving your dog at home in the air conditioning. If you do think the fair is something your pooch will enjoy, a number of tents do have water bowls for dogs, including the Herald-Leader at Booth 163 — that’s a subtle invitation to come say hi.

Dearinger suggests an umbrella to keep the sun off you, and it could also come in handy if the skies open.

This may sound counter-intuitive to folks who like to keep their feet as uncovered as possible in the summer, but with straw, rocks and mud, Woodland isn’t the greatest place for sandals or flip flops. Get out those sturdy walking shoes.

The Woodland Art Fair, presented by the Lexington Art League and Parks & Recreation, features more than 200 artists and craftspeople, food vendors, live music and interactive art. Rob Bolson

More than art

While visual art and fine craft is the focus of the fest, there is also a stage with a full lineup of local music, a kids zone area with activities presented by groups such as the Lexington Ballet, Philharmonic, Children’s Theatre and Bluegrass Printmakers. There’s also a local food court and beer garden. Referring to the previous category, any of these can be a great option if you need to take a break.


Woodland Art Fair

What: Annual art fair featuring more than 200 vendors and other diversions.

When: 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Aug. 18, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Aug. 19

Where: Woodland Park, 601 E. High St.

Admission: free