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The leaves are turning, the wind is whispering, and the temperatures are – more often than not, anyway – beginning to drop. It’s autumn in Artesia, and that, for the past 43 years, has meant one thing: Art in the Park.

The community’s much-anticipated day of browsing one-of-a-kind, handmade arts and crafts, and sampling tasty treats while strolling through picturesque Central Park is swiftly approaching, and the Artesia Arts Council is pleased to report this year’s event was a sellout.

The maximum amount of 100 vendors have signed on to offer their wares to Artesians looking to add to their jewelry collections, enhance their home décor, or get a jump on their Christmas shopping.

“We have people coming from all over – from Las Cruces, Alamogordo, Ruidoso… we’re excited that there’s still over a week left until the event and we’re filled,” AAC Executive Director Laurie Schotz said Thursday.

In addition to the traditional mosaic of products available from artisans and crafters, a few first-time extras will be offered this year, as well.

The arts council will, from 9 a.m. – noon, be offering a pet-centered craft, meaning attendees will be welcome to bring their animals to the park during those hours to take advantage.

“Our booth will be located by the gazebo, and we’ll take your pet’s paw print and make a flower out of it,” Schotz said. “So you can have your puppy’s paw and frame it.”

At noon, the AAC will switch to offering youngsters the opportunity to paint their own kites. There will also be a limited amount of trick-or-treat bags available for children to color.

Cut-outs of a can-can girl and cowboy from the National Day of the Cowboy event will be available for those wishing to take free photos, and the council will also have a few yard games set up between the gazebo and the food booth seating area that offer entertainment for all ages: cornhole and “hillbilly golf.”

“They’re not for prizes or anything, it’s just something that if, for instance, the parents are eating and the kids need something to do, is available to them,” said Schotz.

And speaking of food booths, Art in the Park will, as always, have a number of delicious – and portable – options available.

Among other organizations, Smokin’ on the Pecos will be hosting a booth, the Knights of Columbus will sell quesadillas and funnel cakes, the arts council will be offering pulled pork, the Artesia High School rodeo team will be grilling up hot dogs and hamburgers, and Grammy’s House will have sausage for sale.

In addition, rather than just one water and soda booth, the event will house three: two near the food vendors and one on the opposite side of the park. That convenience is part of a new configuration the arts council hopes will add to the event’s convenience.

“Our layout is a little different, and hopefully it’ll be a little easier to maneuver,” said Schotz. “We’ve kind of spread it out, and there will also be bathrooms on two different corners this year instead of just one.”

Vendors will have the opportunity to set up on Friday, if they choose, for a $5 fee that will cover the cost of overnight security. They’ll also have the opportunity to join the Artesia Arts Council on the day of the event in order to make a return trip in 2018 even easier.

“If on Oct. 21, you know you want to come back next year, you can sign up as a member, and you’ll get the early-bird form before anybody else so you can pick the spot you want,” Schotz said.

Schotz says specific parking areas will be designated for vendors, and they’re asked to utilize those spaces.

“We ask vendors not to park around the park,” said Schotz. “There are those that have done it for years and will probably continue to do it, but we’ll do our best to accommodate them and also accommodate the customers.”

Holding their own annual event in conjunction with Art in the Park once again, the Artesia Public Schools’ bands will have their cake walk set up on Central Park’s basketball court from 10 a.m. – 3:30 p.m., giving attendees the opportunity to walk the numbered circles for their chance to win a cake.

“We’ve got a few more interactive things for people to do for free, the bands will be there, so come out and hear them,” said Schotz. “It’s going to be a huge event in that every space will be filled, and we want to encourage people to come out and have a lot of fun.”