La Quinta Arts Festival drawing visitors, boosting local business

Festival runs through Sunday in La Quinta

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LA QUINTA, Calif. - Art lovers are coming into the east valley this weekend as the La Quinta Arts Festival kicked off Thursday. 

People were all lined up and ready to go with tickets in hand as the festival gates opened.

"It’s a lot of fun whether you know art, or don’t know art, it’s a fun day and it’s beautiful," Gail Cohen, who's visiting from Pebble Beach, said.

Visitors are treated to many different forms of art from sculptures, to paintings, and even some live music.

The annual event has been recognized as the number one fine arts festival in the nation by the Art Fair Sourcebook, a guide to different art events across the US.

“Highly honored, very humbled, amazingly proud," Kathleen Hughes, events manager for the arts festival, said. "Most people don’t understand. More than 4,500 art festivals that are evaluated.”

She said 25,000 people are expected to come during the four-day event, with many of them curious after hearing of their number one ranking.

“We feel we brought the right artists from across the nation, from 35 states to showcase some incredible artwork," Hughes said.

It’s also bringing a lot of business nearby. At Old Town Coffee Company, in Old Town La Quinta, owner Marcie Johnson, said the number of customers at least doubles while the festival is going on. Extra pastries are prepped as people enjoy their cup of joe.

“For 4 to 5 days, we are at full staff and we’re full steam ahead.," she said.

With the art attracting visitors from all over the region, some visitors say they may want to take some sculptures or paintings for themselves.

“I’m quite interested in seeing everything’s that's here," said Jill Austin of Palm Desert. "Whether I purchase anything, I’m not sure. I do have my credit card in my purse.”

Hughes hoped the event would win over first-time visitors.

“A passion and appreciation of art is what I hope they gain," she said.

The La Quinta Arts Festival will run through Sunday, Mar. 4. Tickets are available on the festival's website here.

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