Arts in the Park enjoys over 20 years of success due to dedicated volunteers

FALLBROOK – They keep coming back, year after year. Local volunteers come to Arts in the Park to help enrich the lives of children in the Fallbrook/Bonsall area. Sunday, April 27 will mark the 21st year that professional teachers, artists, musicians, crafters and those who simply love children will come to Live Oak Park to bring the free Arts in the Park to life.

Diane Gravlin has volunteered her time at the event for 20 years. The first year, she played the dulcimer. However, as the daughter of a Swedish fiddler, she really wanted to play the violin. After her husband, Bob, bought her a violin, she fulfilled her dream at age 60. “You’re never too old,” said Gravlin.

Meanwhile, Bob signed up at Claremont College to learn violin making and repair. The violin duo were soon an annual presence at the park, with Bob demonstrating violin making and Diane teaching. “It is our love of children that brings us back to Arts in the Park year after year,” said Diane.

Connie Tognoli was also a volunteer at the first Arts in the Park. She said the event was half the size it is today, but still an exhausting experience. However, the children’s response to making her yarn dolls was all the reward she needed to return.

Tognoli especially enjoys watching the moms and dads. She said one year, a dad and son constructed little green ninja warriors out of their yarn. “Arts in the Park is free, it’s outdoors, and children can do so many different things,” said Tognoli. A doll collector and artist, her crafting continued when her husband’s job moved the family to Saudi Arabia. She taught a craft class there for women. “Some women had never held scissors before,” she said.

This year’s event will be as festive and interesting as ever. Just a hint of the crafts available include: bookmarks, t-shirt bags, murals, plaster molds, floppy hats, and wind socks. Entertainment includes a puppet show, magician, reptiles, a petting zoo and more!

Arts in the Park is a free festival, sponsored by Rally for Children and the Fallbrook Elementary School District, on Sunday, April 27, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Live Oak Park. Parking is $3/vehicle at the park, but free parking and a shuttle is available at Potter Jr. High School and Maie Ellis Elementary School.

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