Normally, Dallas Center holds its annual Art in the Park event at the beginning of June. This year, they moved it July 8 and combined it with Jazz in July, which is put on by the Metro Arts Alliance and has performances all over the Des Moines Metro area throughout the month of July.
Starting at 5:30 p.m., the Dallas Center-Grimes High School Jazz Combo performed, followed by the Parranderos Latin Combo on the stage in Mound Park.
The Art in the Park portion is always planned by the Dallas Center Seasonal Fun Committee, but bringing Jazz in July to the community was spearheaded by Dallas Center City Councilman David Bagby.
“Someone had brought it (Jazz in July idea) to council and spoke about Jazz in July and I asked council if they’d be open to me trying to bring it here and council said ‘yeah,’” Bagby said.
Additionally, the council paid the $600 application fee for Jazz in July.
Bagby said that a lot of the work for Jazz in July was done ahead of time and made easier by the Metro Arts Alliance.
“The Des Moines Metro Arts Alliance is just fantastic to work with,” Bagby said. “They made everything so easy. They sent you everything you need. Just follow their blueprint.”
This was the first time that Jazz in July has been held in Dallas Center.
“When they chose us as a site, I was all pumped up,” Bagby said.
In addition to jazz music, art vendors and displays were set up around Mound Park for the Art in the Park portion of the event. Susan Collins, who is on the Seasonal Fun Committee, said that they had a lot more vendors this year than they have in the past.
Adding Jazz in July to the event was in hopes of getting more people to attend the event, according to Emily Wynn, who is also on the Seasonal Fun Committee.
“Hopefully we’ll get more people here that will see Dallas Center and see not just Art in the Park and then be able to come back next year and check it out,” Wynn said.
In addition to artists, there are also crafts available, including clothing makers and food vendors.
There was also a tent for Dallas Center Rocks, which allowed people to paint a rock to hide later as a part of a project happening in several area communities.
Communities, including Dallas Center, Grimes, Waukee, Linden, West Des Moines and Des Moines are encouraging people to paint and hide rocks in their communities. When someone finds a painted rock they are encouraged to take a picture with it and post it on social media, using the communities’ hashtags for the groups.
“I think it’s the variety that we have this year, I think it’s fantastic,” Collins said.