By Tommy Mann Jr. – For The Record

Spring is here and that means the return of one of Orange’s most popular events is too.

The 14th annual Art in the Park festival will be held from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Saturday, April 9, at Stark Park, 711 Green Avenue in front of the Lutcher Theater for the Performing Arts in downtown Orange.

The event, which is presented by the Orange Convention and Visitors Bureau, is being held later this year to be held in conjunction with the Orange County River Festival and Elite Redfish Series Classic Kick Off fishing tournament, which are both being held Friday, April 8 through Sunday, April 10 at the City of Orange Boat Ramp off Simmons Drive in Orange.

In 2013 and 2015, Art in the Park was scheduled to be held in conjunction with the Bassmaster Elite Series fishing tournaments. The Art in the Park festival met with huge success in 2013 as thousands of people attended the event, but heavy rains forced the cancellation of the 2015 festival.

Hopefully, beautiful weather and high attendance at the Orange County River Festival and Elite Redfish Series fishing tournament will add to the attendance of the always popular Art in the Park.

Shuttles will be available throughout the weekend for those attending the Orange County River Festival and Elite Redfish Series Classic Kick Off, as well as Art in the Park on Saturday.

On Friday, Bus A will be available from 3 p.m. – 10 p.m. and run from the City of Orange Boat Ramp and festival entrance at 1000 Simmons Drive to Orange Trade Days parking lot at 200 E. Turret and back to City of Orange Boat Ramp.

On Saturday, Bus A and Bus B will be available from 11 a.m. – 11 p.m. and run from the City of Orange Boat Ramp and festival entrance at 1000 Simmons Drive to the corner of Fifth Street and Green Avenue for Art in the Park to Shangri La Botanical Gardens and Nature Center at 2111 W. Park Ave to Orange Trade Days parking lot at 200 E. Turret to the City of Orange Boat Ramp.

Park and ride locations can be utilized at Fifth Street and Green Avenue, the City of Orange Boat Ramp or the Orange Trade Days parking lot.

According to Brandy Judice, the Orange Convention and Visitors Bureau Coordinator, the purpose of Art in the Park is to provide the community with a fun and entertaining event while encouraging tourism to the area.

“This event will promote the arts with artists and crafters on display throughout the day,” she said. “It’s intended to promote tourism and hotel stays by highlighting our downtown attractions and it is also in support of the Elite Redfish Series Classic fishing tournament, which is taking place Friday through Sunday.”

Dozens of artists and crafters will be on site featuring a variety of goods and art, such as woodworking, pottery, sculpture, paintings, photography, handmade jewelry and more for purchase.

Food vendors will feature a variety of delicious food items for those who build up an appetite while browsing and shopping throughout the park.

As always, Art in the Park is a great event for the whole family and that means there will be activities for children as well. Children’s activities include face-painting, pony rides, a petting zoo, games and a bounce house will keep the younger children entertained.

Music is once again a big part of this year’s event and the festival welcomes back the Night and Day Orchestra from 10 a.m. to noon, Saturday, followed by Country Outkasts from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m., Saturday.

“There is plenty to see and do at Art in the Park,” Judice said. “It’s a great family event.”

Art in the Park is a yearly event presented by the Orange Convention and Visitors Bureau. The event, which began in 2003 and is now in its 13th year, was originally created as a means to bring people into downtown Orange so they might experience all the city has to offer.

Visit www.orangetexas.org on the Internet or call the Orange CVB at 409-883-1011 for more information.