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A street full of art in Dixon

Some festival events move downtown; carnival stays put

Published: Friday, July 5, 2013 1:15 a.m. CDT
(Philip Marruffo/pmarruffo@saukvalley.com)
Sara DiGrazia, 12, of Dixon, paints horses in her square on First Street during the Petunia Festival's Brush, Bloom and Boom painting competition Thursday. Fourth of July festival-goers were treated with gorgeous summer weather Thursday afternoon. The festival continues through Sunday.

DIXON – A mother walking with her two small children Thursday saw them taking off their sandals at the Petunia Festival.  

“Put your shoshes on,” she warned. “The concrete is too hot.”  

She was right.  

“Ow, ow, ow!” one of her children shrieked.  

The pavement was hot, but the weather was pleasant about 2 p.m., with a slight breeze, partly cloudy skies and temperatures in the low 80s.

Festival-goers saw a big change in this year’s festival’s layout. The carnival stayed in front of the high school, but the rest of the festivities moved downtown.

“The afternoon is usually light,” said Judy Dixon, a Petunia Festival volunteer. “Last night, it was really crowded. A lot of the [musical] groups have followings.”  

The festival moved downtown, she said, because last year’s Mumford & Sons concert last August was so successful.  

On River Street, about 30 people played bags mid-afternoon while a band performed on a nearby stage. One block away on First Street, more than 100 people filled designated 4-by-4-foot squares with chalk art.

Many drew U.S. flags – it being the Fourth of July, after all.  

Jesse Kent of Dixon thought he may have to go the patriotic route, but then he saw depictions of Batman and the Rolling Stones. So he went with his original plan – drawing the symbol for Sinnissippi Centers’ Recovery for Life, where he works. The symbol is a silhouette of a person with raised arms.

“I talked to my coordinator, and he said, ‘Go for it,’” Kent said.  

He was done in about 2 hours.  

The biggest piece of art was being done by Philip Atilano – a Dixon native and now a muralist and 3-D artist in Milwaukee – and three others. They were trying to create the illusion of a hole in the street, which is expected to make people feel as if they are going to fall into it.

The project is expected to last through today.  

Becky Reilly, a member of the Petunia Festival board, said the artwork on First Street was a success.

“Kids as young as 3 and senior citizens were here,” she said. 

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