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Thousands descend upon downtown Coeur d’Alene on Sunday for trio of events

UPDATED: Sun., Aug. 6, 2017, 9:33 p.m.

Hot weather and a seemingly endless smoky haze blanketing the region didn’t stop thousands from flocking to downtown Coeur d’Alene over the weekend to peruse shops, eat their weight in food and cool off in the popular lake by the city.

Always held in the first week of August, Art on the Green at North Idaho College, and Taste of Coeur d’Alene in City Park – with its accompanying street fair downtown – drew in people from across the United States, including David Armes, a landscape photographer from Phoenix who erected a large, white tent full of his breathtaking photos of national parks and monuments.

“It’s a nice venue,” the 66-year-old retiree remarked. “This is my vacation.”

Armes wasn’t alone in his appreciation for Art on the Green. Craftsmen, painters, singer-songwriters, and artists all praised the weekend-long hangout in the shady park area near the lake. They agreed: It’s a great way to market and sell products, especially if your product has a practical purpose nearby.

“Water,” said Tim Mahoney, who had six handcrafted canoes for sale, on why he liked this particular venue. “It’s right next to the lake.”

It was the first time the construction company owner turned canoe-maker from Utah had been to Coeur d’Alene. As he and his wife, Alayne, stopped to talk to people admiring his work Sunday morning, others would line up, running their hands down the curved wood, admiring the attention to detail.

“They’re so beautiful,” one woman remarked.

Others at the venue weren’t there to browse through the hundreds of tents and listen to live music, at least not right away. Sherry Hannah, Janet Gertje and Tina Smith immediately parked themselves in the food court, steaming-hot ears of corn pressed up to their lips. They’d shop, all right – it would just have to wait.

“We try to come every year,” Hannah said, wiping her lips.

For the corn?

“Oh yeah,” they all said in unison.

To the east and a little south, hundreds of people were feasting at Taste of Coeur d’Alene, which featured the classics: elephant ears, funnel cakes, kettle corn popcorn, ice cream by the scoop and, of course, corn on the cob. Dozens of food tents were set up in the south part of City Park, where people lounged about, either sleeping in the grass or working off their meal in the water.

Hundreds more walked the downtown street fair, which took over several blocks along Sherman Avenue. People walking in the hot sun escaped the heat under tent awnings or paused to catch the spray from overhead misters.

While walking, they were serenaded by several children showcasing their musical prowess.

Perhaps the most profitable was Faith Osborn with her tiny violin pressed firmly to her cheek. As she turned the pages on her sheet music and started up a new tune, the also tiny violin case filled quickly with $1 bills, which elicited a look of gratitude from the talented 10-year-old.

“It’s fun to play,” she said, while counting her haul with her father, Andy Osborn, before returning to her spot. “I like the sound of it.”