Green grass, beautiful scenery and a breeze can make the art go down smoother. Summer festivals are a great way to explore and experience local culture and find unique items from fashion to pottery, paintings to sculpture, jewelry to furniture.
Here are some festivals between now and the end of August:
Meridian Summer Arts Festival
There was a time when the idea of an arts festival in Meridian might draw a snicker (or at least a moo). But no longer, thanks to organizer Ellen DeAngelis, who wanted to create an arts event close to her home. Now in its third year, the Meridian Summer Arts Festival at Storey Park is a serious venue for area artists, and a good time as well. On Fourth of July weekend you'll find work from more than 35 artists and crafters, music by Ellie Shaw, wine from Sawtooth Winery and a host of food trucks.
11 a.m. to 8 p.m. July 5 and 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. July 6, Storey Park, 215 E. Franklin Road, Meridian. Free.Info: Facebook.com/MeridianSummerArtsFestival
Miles from Boise: We're lucky - this one is right here at home.
Ketchum Arts Festival
The Ketchum Arts Festival was organized 15 years ago to offer Blaine County artists an opportunity to show their work. This year you'll find a mix of artists - from painters to jewelers - from across the region, including the Treasure Valley, as well as area nonprofits. One of the things this festival has going for it is its beautiful setting. More than 100 artists will set up in the Sun Valley meadow, where you'll find children's activities, music, food, beer and wine and more.
10 a.m. to 6 p.m. July 11 to 13, Sun Valley Festival Meadows, Sun Valley Road. Free.Info: KetchumArtsFestival.com.Where to stay: VisitSunValley.org
Miles from Boise: 154
Pend Oreille Arts Council's Arts & Crafts Fair
The Pend Oreille Arts Council's Arts & Crafts Fair happens during the Festival at Sandpoint, an outdoor concert series that runs Aug. 7 to 17. The 42nd Annual Arts & Crafts Fair fills downtown Sandpoint with artists from across the West. You'll find food vendors, a local music stage, artist demonstrations and a kids activities tent.
10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Aug. 10, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Aug. 11, Downtown Sandpoint.Info: artinsandpoint.org/arts-crafts-fairWhere to stay: VisitSandpoint.org
Miles from Boise: 422
Sun Valley Arts and Crafts Festival
Now in its 46th year, the Sun Valley Arts and Crafts Festival is ranked as one of the top 100 festivals in the nation. It fills Atkinson Park with more than 130 artists working in painting, photography, fiber, ceramic, metal, jewelry and woodwork from Idaho and across the country. A percentage of sales benefit the Sun Valley Center for the Arts.
10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Aug. 8, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Aug. 9 to 10, Atkinson Park, 900 3rd Ave., Ketchum. Free. Info: SunValleyCenter.org/arts-crafts-festivalWhere to stay: VisitSunValley.org
Miles from Boise: 154
Art in the High Desert
Oregon's Art in the High Desert is set along the banks of the Deschutes River in Bend's Old Mill District. This juried show brings together more than 100 artists from the United States, including Idaho and Canada working in 14 different art mediums. You'll find everything from metal work to photography. Organizers seek out artists you might not find at other Western regional festivals. They don't offer music at the arts festival but you can find lots of entertainment in the Mill District and at the nearby Les Schwab Amphitheater.
10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Aug. 22 to 23, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Aug. 24, Bend, Ore. Free. Info: Facebook.com/artinthehighdesertWhere to stay: VisitBend.org
Miles from Boise: 318
Art in the Pearl
Portland's Art in the Pearl is one of the top arts festivals in the region. You'll find more than 100 artists showing and selling their work ranging from handcrafted furniture to paintings, photography to glass, kid's arts activities, artist demonstrations, world music stage and a fleet of food carts and trucks. It's all nestled in Portland's tony Pearl District, which itself is an arts and culture draw with dozens of art galleries and restaurants.
10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Aug. 30 to 31, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sept. 1, between West Burnside and Northwest Glisan streets at Northwest 8th Avenue. Free. Where to stay: ExploreThePearl.com
Miles from Boise: 430
Anacortes Arts Festival
One of the oldest arts festivals in the region is in Anacortes, Wash. Founded in 1962, the Anacortes Arts Festival boasts a permanent collection of fine art and, alongside the traditional juried mix of jewelry, fiber and ceramic artists, offers food, beer and wine and multiple music stages. It produces Arts in the Port, a juried contemporary art exhibit. This year's theme of "Air, Earth, Water" will be explored through the work of more than 36 Washington artists. (Prizes of $11,500 will be awarded by juror Patricia Grieve Watkinson, former executive director of the Pilchuck Glass School.)
10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Aug. 1 to 2, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Aug. 3, Anacortes, Wash. Arts in the Port: Opening reception 6 p.m. July 26, and open July 28 to Aug. 3. Free. Where to stay: Anacortes.org
Miles from Boise: 578
The entire city of Seattle goes for the arts - film, music, visual and performing arts, theater, comedy and more - at Bumbershoot. Find Wendy Red Star's "Wild West & Congress of Rough Riders of the World," an exhibition of contemporary Native American visual and performing artists at Seattle Center. Also check out the exhibits in the Fisher Pavilion on Aug. 31. You'll see Brooklyn artist Jonathan Schipper's large-scale kinetic artworks, "Enigma Machine," an exploration of the world created by 3-D printers, and "Fashiony," an exhibit of African and Asian style. You can download the 2014 Bumbershoot app and get all the details.
August 30 to Sept. 1 in and around Seattle Center. Some events are free, others are not.Info: Bumbershoot.orgWhere to stay: Seattle.gov/visiting.
Miles from Boise: 506