Weather steals Rotary art show's thunder

A Fine Art in the Park patron braves the rain May 18 to view an artist’s work in Lincoln Park. Organizers canceled a second day of scheduled activities due to the threat of lightning.

The usual warm spring weather at the annual Fine Art in the Park event was nowhere to be found during the weekend of May 18 and 19. In fact, the threat of thunder and lightning prompted the host Rotary Club of Los Altos to call off the second day of the open-air show.

“Unfortunately, we had thunder and lightning early Sunday morning and I made the decision to call off the show for safety reasons,” said Stan Scardino, event director. “We were planning on opening despite the rain, since there were forecasts for breaks during the day. (But) safety was the priority. The artists were disappointed but, like farmers, are at the whim of weather, and this is not the first show they have been rained out of.”

Despite the official cancellation, a handful of vendors braved the elements on Sunday, but most could be seen packing up their canopies and wares.

In a thank-you letter to the artists, artist coordinator Carol Dabb called the inclement weather “a fiasco, for the weekend. This was our 44th show. We’ve had no rain in 27 years.”

The popular event at Lincoln Park is a prime showcase for the more than 160 artists who participate. It is also a major fundraiser for Rotarians, who use the proceeds for a wide range of community projects.

“Many of the artists have been coming to this show for years and know that we did not wish to cancel any more than they did,” Scardino said. “All of the attending artists will receive first choice of their space for next year and will not be subjected to the normal judged rankings.”

Still, Scardino found silver linings among the dark clouds.

“We had a vibrant show on Saturday, despite the rain and a couple of bands deciding not to show up,” he said. “Most of our artists were in attendance and had said that Saturday was a good day. … Additionally, we had a Fine Wine and Craft Beer tent this year with four Santa Cruz Mountains vintners sharing their products. All four wineries – Byington, Portola Valley, Neeley and Griffin Hill – and Fort Point Brewery are planning to return next year.  I cannot say if it was the cavernous tent or the product that drew people in from the rain, but the vibe was definitely convivial once they came in and started talking with the knowledgeable representatives of the wineries and brewery and trying their products.”

In addition, Scardino said the nonprofit groups and student scholars that benefit from event proceeds through the Los Altos Rotary Endowment Fund likely won’t be impacted. That’s because of a “rainy-day fund” Rotarians set up in the event of a situation like May 19.

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