Sep. 3—MARIETTA — The heart of Marietta saw a different kind of heavy traffic over Labor Day weekend as members of the Cobb County community attend the 36th annual Art in the Park, which was set to continue through Monday.
With the roads blocked off on each side of the Marietta Square on Saturday to allow for the continuous buzz of pedestrians, music played all afternoon from different local artists, as guests wandered the square taking in the different vendors, refreshments, the children's alley, and, of course, the art.
"The quality of the work that's here is amazing," said Aaron Tovi, an art enthusiast from Marietta. "We've already seen some artists that we've loved for a while."
Tovi attended Art in the Park with his family. He talked about how he enjoyed getting to see everybody out and about, saying it was nice to connect with people.
Art in the Park has been a staple in the community since 1986, when the beginning stages of the revitalized Marietta Square brought about the desire to use the space for events, according to Carolyn Morris, the event's director. Glover Park had just seen the completion of its renovation, and the local business association tried to raise awareness for the properties nearby and along the downtown strip.
"Once the park finished, we saw an explosion of interest to host events on site," Morris said.
Funding for the weekend comes from tourism grant money provided by the city, according to Morris, with other expenses being provided directly from the festival. Extra proceeds will be donated by the Marietta Business Association to different schools around the area.
Morris did not have information regarding the total cost of the event.
What started as a quaint, exploratory event that saw 32 artists in its opening weekend has grown over the years, bringing with it over 160 different artists from as close as Smyrna to as far as California, according to Morris.
Saturday saw an estimated 15,000 people packed tightly inside the confines of the Square, with the full weekend total expected to be upwards of 45,000 people.
"It's a record-setting crowd that we're seeing," said Morris.
Many artists were eager to be a part of the event, including David Wiss, owner of Bub Modern Glass Blowing in Mobile, Alabama.
"Meeting all these new people who like to see blown glass is great," Wiss said. "I love seeing their eyes light up when they see something they like."
Wiss said he enjoyed being a part of something so impactful to the local community, saying he hopes to see the successful event continue as part of the city's tradition.
"I hope they're able to keep doing it every year," Wiss added.
Art in the Park continues through Labor Day weekend from 10 a.m to 5 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday.