116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
MARION — The Marion Arts Festival returned to Uptown for its 30th year on Saturday.
The festival, which began in 1993, has been an Uptown Marion staple in the three decades since.
Maronites and neighbors around the metro area strolled through City Square Park, the Uptown Artway and used the new Seventh Avenue festival street to view and purchase art, take part in various activities and contests, and grab bites at local Uptown spots.
The festival kicked off early Saturday morning with a half-marathon and 5K race. A waffle breakfast was provided by the Marion-East Cedar Rapids Rotary at Vernon Middle School.
This year, the Uptown restaurants were the festival’s vendors and some businesses offered grab-and-go food options special to the event.
Frydae offered gourmet ice cream sandwiches while GoldFinch offered brussels sprouts, cheese curds and its signature flatbreads. Short’s Burger and Shine had BBQ sliders and Uptown Coffee made breakfast burritos along with coffee and lemonade.
Artists presented work in a dozen different mediums including paintings, photography, ceramics, mixed-media, jewelry and sculpture.
Student-made ceramic bowls were on display as well and for sale as part of a fundraiser with all proceeds going to local food banks. Students from Kirkwood, Corridor Woodturners and the Iowa Ceramics and Glass Studio donated bowls for the sale.
In addition, the Marion Arts and Crafts Beer fest was held in the Uptown Artway during the Arts Festival.
The mini-fest within the larger event featured art, music and craft beer on Saturday afternoon, giving attendees a chance to try with some hops toward the end of the festival.
Across town, giant kites soared across the northern Marion sky as part of the Arts Festival. At the same time, Great American Kites hosted a kite-flying event at Lowe Park over the peewee baseball diamonds throughout the day.
“We want for everybody to have success (and) that the audience wants to come and find things that they love and can take home with them,” Deb Bailey, the festival’s director, told The Gazette.
Uptown Marion was named an Iowa Cultural and Entertainment District in 2005 and a Main Street Iowa Community in 2013.
Gazette features reporter Diana Nollen contributed to this report.
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