Hometown News For Orange County, Texas

Art in the Park Saturday will honor local boxing world champ

Orange's 21st Annual Art in the Park will be this Saturday, April 1, with live music, arts and crafts, food trucks, a car show, and this year, a parade.

The festival, sponsored by the city of Orange Convention and Visitors Bureau, this year will honor the town's newest local sports hero, O'Shaquie "Shock" Foster, who won the World Boxing Council's super featherweight championship in February. The 130-pound fighter now has a giant world championship belt.

Art in the Park will open at Stark Park along Green Avenue from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. The special parade to honor Orange's champion boxer will begin at noon at First Street, then travel down Green Avenue to the old city hall. Mayor Larry Spears Jr. will preside over a ceremony that will include giving the champ the ceremonial key to the city.

The parade will begin staging at First Street at 10 a.m. and entrants may sign up until 4 p.m. Friday on the city's website or by calling 409-221-3325. Entries may include cars, trucks, trailers, gas-powered golf carts, four-wheelers, motorcycles or walkers. No horses, dogs, pets, skateboards or bicycles will be allowed. Cars and trucks entered must show proof of insurance upon registration.

Art in the Park has attracted lots of local residents along with those from out of town. City Events Planner Leigh Anne Harrell said this year more than 100 booths and vendors will be set up. About half of those will be from the people who return annually and about half newcomers.

Non-profit groups also set up information booths and many have arts and crafts activities for children, including the Stark Cultural Venues and Heritage House Museum.

The American Association of University Women Orange Chapter will hold its annual used book sale under the porte cochere of the Lutcher Theater at the south side of Stark Park. Paperback books are as low as 10 cents with like-new hardbacks at $1. Proceeds from the sale of the donated books helps the club provide scholarships to local high school girls.

Stark High graduate and former school quarterback Joel Robins will be at the Orange County Historical Society booth talking about a book he wrote about the old Orange High and later Stark High football programs. He spent years researching the football teams back to the first one in 1909.

Vendors will have a variety of artwork and crafts, including drawings, paintings, photographs, sculptures, pottery, and books.

This year, First United Methodist Church in downtown will be celebrating its 150th anniversary of the congregation. The 1921 Gothic-style church building will be open for guided tours from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. The church is at 502 North Sixth Street, a block north of Stark Park and within easy walking distance of festival.

Once again, the city is hosting a car show in conjunction with Art in the Park. Harrell said the cars will be displayed along Front Avenue in downtown. Entrants may sign up Saturday morning beginning a 7 a.m. Awards for the prize categories will be announced at 2 p.m.

Musical entertainment will be from a stage set up on the dead end of old Seventh Street between the old city hall and Stark Park. Sam Hardin and Band performing current and older popular songs will be there from 10:30 a.m. to noon. Osmosis Jones, a cover band of 1980s songs, will play from 1:30 to 3 p.m. The band has played here before.

Harrell said the city has lined up eight food trucks that will sell a smorgasbord of foods including spicy wings, hamburgers, loaded baked potatoes, fried fish, and nachos.

Art in the Park is free with free parking available through the downtown area. No dogs, pets, skateboards, bicycles, or coolers will be allowed inside the festival.


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