June 16 - June 17, 2018
For over thirty years, exhibitors have lined the pavement within Melgaard Park with their handcrafted wares on the third full weekend in June. Each year, this juried event attracts exhibitors from over twelve states. It is estimated that over 20,000 people go through the park during the two-day event. Arts in the Park features fine and folk art, entertainment and a wide variety of food items.
When the Aberdeen Arts Festival started in 1976, attendees were encouraged to “spend a happy day in the park”. Attendance at the first festival was estimated between 3,000 and 4,000. Pat Meachem Fries designed the original logo. Betsy Rice, the late Belva Duncan and the late Beth Wray were the first general chairwomen. Advertising in those early years included young boys walking up and down Main Street wearing sandwich boards and half-gallon milk cartons with the logo printed on its side-panels. By the second year, almost 80 exhibitors were registered to be a part of the Aberdeen Arts Festival.
Throughout the years, the general public referred to the event as “Arts in the Park” even though the formal name was the “Aberdeen Arts Festival.” In 1998, the planning committee made up of volunteers that organized the event each year, started the process of turning the event over to the Aberdeen Area Arts Council. In 1999, the Aberdeen Area Arts Council voted to change the name to “Arts in the Park” and also introduced a new logo.
See Event Map & Exhibitor List