Pony rides a hit at this year's ArtsCape

Sunday, May 17, 2009
Caedance Wallace, 4, of Cape Girardeau grooms Chippy at the Rolling Hills Farm petting zoo Saturday at ArtsCape at Capaha Park. (Elizabeth Dodd)

As Claire Hadler climbed on top of a pony that she could easily walk under, her mother looked at her smiling green face and hoped the paint would wash off.

"They said sometimes it stains," Jill Hadler said. She had taken Claire to the face painting tent at ArtsCape 2009 before coming to the pony rides. The 7-year-old opted for a light green mask covering her face and hearts of different colors and sizes on her cheeks, forehead and nose.

Jill Hadler said they come to ArtsCape from Jackson almost every year for face painting, the instrument petting zoo and the crafts. The pony rides are something new, brought in by Rolling Hills Farm.

"The horses are my blessing this year," said Valaree Rutherford, administrative assistant at the Arts Council of Southeast Missouri and director of ArtsCape, the arts council's spring community art festival.

Rolling Hills Farm brought several miniature horses for a petting zoo and two ponies for riding, which had a consistent 15- to 20-person line.

"I've rode a horse before, but just once," said 7-year-old Christian Sanchez as he waited in line to ride the white pony.

His mother, Samantha Cruz, said the ponies were "the first thing they wanted to do" at ArtsCape. Last year they ran straight to the bouncy house, she said.

Christian finished his ride, dismounted and took off the helmet provided by Rolling Hills.

"It was fun," he said. "First I thought I was going to fall, then I didn't."

Rutherford said the horse rides were a great addition because they were fun "and they are cheap. One dollar."

Rutherford stayed in Capaha Park past midnight Friday marking tent placements and was back at 5 a.m. Saturday for setup.

In addition to organizing vendors, Rutherford organizes health inspections for the food vendors and takes care of volunteers. This year, she also handled the Kids' Art Tent.

The one thing she didn't have control of was the wind blowing through the park and the dark clouds that threatened, but never delivered, rain Saturday morning.

"Mother Nature," she said. "The weather didn't stop anybody, though."

A little more than 4,000 attended ArtsCape on Saturday; last year, 4,500 attended.

Six food carts and 43 art and craft vendors set up and sold refreshments and merchandise like concrete cast leaves, jewelry and artwork.

The Kids' Art Tent had nine activities. Dozens of volunteers worked short shifts helping children make sand art, scratch art and other forms of artwork.

Artists of all ages painted the sidewalk surrounding the pond in Capaha Park. Fifty-four teams signed up to participate in the street painting contest. For $10, chalk artists got a T-shirt, a box of pastels and a piece of sidewalk to transform.

Some had water bottles to wet and smear the chalk. Others wore socks on their hands to keep clean.

Cheyenne Limbach, 11, didn't care. She smeared blue chalk with both hands to make an ocean.

"I'm blue," she said, shrugging it off. "I like getting dirty. I just wanted to do something fun."

Cheyenne and great-aunt Susan Maxwell walked to Capaha Park for ArtsCape. She said she played the baritone in the Shivelbine's Instrument Petting Zoo at last year's ArtsCape, but had to settle for chalk drawing this year because the tent was not at the event.

Bill Shivelbine said he decided to forgo the tent where children try out instruments after he called the health department for advice on keeping the instruments relatively germ-free.

"We were advised this year not to do it," he said. The workers at the tent dip mouthpieces into a cleaning solution after each player to disinfect them, but he said he wanted to be safe this year.

"We hope to come back even stronger next year," he said.

Cheyenne finished her ocean, beach and green hills on the sidewalk. By 3:30 p.m., when the judges viewed the sidewalk art, the sun was out and most of the path was swathed in color.

Craig Thomas, coordinator of the street painting contest, announced the winners. In the children's division (6 to 14) winners were Chelsea Wells, first place; Sunny Smith, second place; Sherri Green, third place; in the teen division (15 to 18) Megan Brock, first place; Shanda Boren, second place; Shelby Jackson, third place; in the adult division (19 and up) Doug Baltz, first place; Alisha Castleman, second place; Kyla Clark, third place.



Pertinent address:

Capaha Park, Cape Girardeau, MO

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