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First Annual Affaire des Artes event set

The Wadena City Library, along with the newly formed Greater Wadena Arts League, are preparing for the first annual arts festival called Affaire des Artes to be held from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. June 19 in Burlington Northern Park.

The event will feature an art sale, music, art activities for children, story tellers and many Minnesota authors and three national authors. There is no admission cost.

According to planners of Wake Up and Feel the Arts, it started out as an added activity for those coming to Wadena for the All-School Reunion. Once the idea took off and the planning began, the arts league committee decided to make it an annual event.

"We are starting out small this year, but want it to get bigger and better every year," said Mim Maas, one of the festival coordinators.

The Irish Musical group The Gallivanters will start off with great toe tapping and the ethnic music of Ireland at 10 a.m. in the bandstand. They will play again at 3 p.m. at The Harvest Thyme Bistro. At 11 a.m., Paul Imholte, The Stringman, will start strolling the park with his cart of dulcimers and stringed instruments. Music provided by Tony Latessa will take place between 6-8 p.m. at Harvest Thyme Bistro. Letessa does a Rat Pack Sounds and Tribute to Elvis concert.

Gillette Kempf of An Open Book has put together a roster of more than 20 regional or Minnesota authors and three big name authors to be at the festival. There will be a tent in the park where the authors will have their books for sale and in the Depot there will be presentations, book readings and special programs by different writers. The three nationally known authors are Faith Sullivan, Erin Hart and Lois Greiman. Sullivan, best known for her stories about women and families living during the Great Depression, will be presenting in the Depot at 3:45 p.m. Erin Hart writes about Irish mystery and crimes novels, and is also known as a founder of Minnesota's Irish Music and Dance Association. She will be speaking at 2:45 p.m. With a list of more than 20 books published, Lois Greiman writes anything from children's stories to mysteries to historical romances. In 2006, she was the recipient of the LaVyrle Spencer award. She currently resides in Minnesota. Greiman will be speaking at 2 p.m.

Storytellers appearing at Affaire des Artes will include Heidi Hoks at 11:30 a.m. Hoks has been a professional storyteller since 1978, performing for schools, public libraries, conferences, community events and religious events as a performer. She has also done workshops and artist-in-residencies both in storytelling performance and in classroom workshops on writing personal and historical narratives as well as workshops on the art of storytelling. Roger Hellesvig will talk as "Ole Oleson" at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. Join "Ole" and help him pack his trunk for America. Discover the choices an immigrant has to make when coming to this new land. Learn some of the traditions that go along with items in the trunk. This story covers immigration in the mid-1800s. Using an immigrant trunk as a focal point, I share what it was like to come to America. Sonja Kosler will be on at 3:30 p.m. Kosler is a rare and gifted storyteller; one who honors her listeners, the characters in her stories, and the oral tradition. She believes there is magic in this ancient art form which doesn't require electricity to communicate. If you are fortunate to be present when she draws you into her stories, you will experience her personal electricity and share the magic. Whether Sonja is telling folk tales, scary stories, personal experiences, porquoi stories, historical fiction, or stories for healing she always has a special connection with each person in the audience.

According to Artists Coodinator Cheryl Prindle, there will be 18 different artists with tents set up to display and sell their work.

"We have everything from watercolors and oil paintings to steel sculptures, jewelry and pottery. The Artist Alley will be open all day, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.," Prindle said.

Children's Art activities begin at 1 p.m. and there will also be food venders in the park, including the kettle corn man who has become a veteran participant at the Wadena Christmas Festival.