Street performers in the background ranged from the Incan flute players to a young man playing classical fiddle with a folksy twist. Smells of fried food from various vendors wafting through the air. A trickle of tourists and locals becomes a stream, then a river, as the day warms up at Art on the Green, Coeur d'Alene's annual arts festival.

Kids are everywhere in all shapes and sizes, including on the beach, totally oblivious to the wonders of the art world unfolding in the tents and display booths along the pathway in the park or snaking around the edge of North Idaho College's grassy campus.

Scott Dodson's sand sculpture
We went early to this annual event, this indicator of August and summer winding down. School is not far off. Fall. Fewer people along the promenade. Only Idaho plates in the parking lot.

But for the first weekend in August, Coeur d'Alene shines. And we all fall in love with this place all over again. And maybe some newcomers, too, realize the charm of such a place. Sure it's crowded. But it's a festival. A celebration of the arts. And community. A chance to see old friends, like the parents of students and even former students themselves, including the one who excitedly showed me his first art purchase: an enamel by Allen and Mary Dee Dodge.

I told him he'd chosen well, then smiled to myself when I saw a lovely enamel by the Dodges included in the juried art show display. Their work with legendary enamelist Harold Balazs shows in this piece.

We bought some trinkets for friends--a great place for jewelry--and a few for ourselves. And we ate well (why go to Spokane for Azar's gyros when you know they'll be coming to you during events such as these!). But mostly we marveled at our good fortune for living in such a lovely area.

And then we went home and napped. Ah, summer.