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May 18, 2012 > Arts and Crafts at Shinn Park

Arts and Crafts at Shinn Park

By Jessica Noel Flohr

May is the month to get outdoors and see the sights. One of Fremont's hidden gems is Shinn Park and Arboretum. The four and a half acre park is home to one of the Bay Area's loveliest gardens and the historic Shinn House, a Victorian farmhouse built between 1865 and 1876. On Sunday, May 20, Shinn Park will host its annual Arts and Crafts festival.

This year is the 11th anniversary for Arts and Crafts in Shinn Park. The festival started in 2001, originally hosted by East Bay Regional Park District at Ardenwood Historic Farm. It was decided to change the site, but suitable locations were hard to find; it appeared that Fremont would lose the event altogether until Al Minard, a docent at Shinn Park, suggested Shinn Park, a more intimate setting. The gardens of the historical park proved to be an ideal location and the number of participating artists has increased every year since the transition about five years ago. Minard says, "The artists enjoy it more. There are fewer distractions and people can focus on the art."

Local talent is the main focus of this festival. So far, twenty artists have registered to display their crafts, with more expected in the next few days. Participants from around the Bay Area are enticed by the tight-knit community feel of this event. Arts and crafts will be for sale, and several demonstrations of historical crafts are expected as well.

The whole family is welcome. Children can dance and sing along to familiar songs from Music for Minors II and adults will enjoy classic tunes from San Jose's Cadillac Jack Band. The forecast this year is predicting a beautiful day with plenty of sunshine for Nour El Ain Dance Company, an improvisational dance group, which will delight the crowd with a display of belly dancing and traditional costumes. A square dancing demonstration is sure to draw visitors to watch the fun. And Nachos, hotdogs, popcorn, and soda will be offered at a nominal price.

A very unique feature of the festival is the private Bay Area Ghost Hunters (BAGH) tour led by docent Minard. This is the second year of ghost tours, open only to BAGH members. The general public is invited to tour the house throughout the rest of the day; tours are $5 for adults and $2.50 for children ages 5 to 12.

Sponsors this year include Boy Scout Troup 447, Dale Hardware, Mission Peak Heritage Foundation, the Fremont Cultural Arts Council, Young Life, and the Fremont Art Association. The Mission Peak Heritage Foundation is responsible for maintenance and restoration of the park; profits from the festival will be used for this purpose.

Minard says that everyone should enjoy the day in the sun at this beautiful setting. "It introduces local people to local artists and a historic site that they may have never seen before. It's a lot of fun and the festival highlights our local community."

Arts & Crafts in Shinn Park
Sunday, May 20
10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Shinn Historical Park
1251 Peralta Blvd., Fremont
(510) 552-4389
Admission to the grounds is free
House tours: $5 adults, $2.50 for children age 5-12, under 5 free

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