When Kankakee artist Natalie Seaton felt miserable after
having her wisdom teeth pulled, she decided not to just sit
around. Instead, she used her whimsical art style to create
a new line of items that she is now marketing: iPhone covers,
stationery, wall stencils, rubber stamps, even fabric designs.
People will get to see her art work, along with the imaginative
creations of more than 90 other arts and craft venders at this
year’s Strawberry Jazz Festival, 11 a.m. - 4 p.m. June 2 at Gov.
Small Memorial Park, 801 S. 8th Ave., in Kankakee.
The festival, sponsored by the Community Arts Council of
Kankakee County, has grown so large over the years that it
now utilizes the entire park, including the Civic Auditorium,
the Taylor School House, the Kankakee County Museum and
the Dr. A. L. Small Home. Thousands of visitors come to enjoy
an afternoon browsing through artists’ booths, having lunch
at a variety of food vendors with strawberry-related offerings
and experiencing continuous entertainment which includes
music and specialty acts.
“Last year was the first year that I participated in the
Strawberry Jazz Festival,” says Seaton. “I loved it! The
background music was relaxing, the weather was perfect,
and I had fun sharing my artwork with all of the local people.
There seemed to be a nice crowd, and everyone was excited
to look around and shop! I can't wait for another year.”
Janice Miller, president of CAC, is just as enthusiastic that
“the 2013 Strawberry Jazz Festival will be the largest and most
And to help ensure that the festival meets her expectations,
several special attractions have been planned. These include a
raffle located in the Civic Auditorium to raise funds for students
to attend art camps. Each vendor has donated a special item.
There will be paintings, photographs, tickets for the coming
Kankakee Valley Theatre season and the Kankakee Kultivators
Garden Walk, gift certificates, floral planters and much more.
There also will be a car show featuring vintage autos from the
Heiland Road Hot Rodders Club and a used book sale sponsored
by the Friends of the Kankakee Public Library. The Kankakee
Art League also is holding its annual show in the museum.
Vendors will display a myriad of handmade items: paintings in
acrylic, water color and oil, photographs, children’s apparel and
accessories, plants, jewelry, purses, decorative pottery, wood
carvings, hand-painted glass, needlework and much more. Quilts
will be displayed in the Dr. A.L. Small Home. Some vendors also
will give demonstrations of their work.
The Festival also will be a delight for children. The Exploration
Station is planning strawberry-related games, homemade play
dough, bubbles, hula hoops and other activities. The museum
staff members will read books in the school house to give
children an idea of what it was like to attend a 19th century
one-room school. They also will have a glass dime toss game.
Entertainment will be performed all afternoon on the Civic
Auditorium’s stage and porch, the museum and the porch of
the Dr. Small home. Performers will include a Dixieland band,
several dancing groups, musicians, solo and choral singers, a
gospel group, barbershop singers, jugglers, Suzuki piano
students and students of the Kankakee River Valley Piano
Teachers Association and skits from “Chicago,” the Acting
Out Theatre’s coming production.
Vendors are asked to follow a strawberry theme so there
will be chocolate covered strawberries, strawberry pie, short
cake and other strawberry foods, funnel cakes, hot dogs,
hamburgers, rib tips, chopped pork sandwiches, sausage,
chili, baked beans, kettle corn, cotton candy and ice cream,
plus other taste treats.
Parking is free. Charles St. between Water St .and Eighth
Ave., will be closed, but visitors can park in the field across
from the Civic Auditorium and in the field along Calista Ave.
Handicapped parking also will be available in the oval near the
museum Signs will guide visitors.