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Brookings Art Festival

July 12, 2013, 6:06 PM by Hailey Higgins

Brookings Art Festival

A major road closure in Brookings has some vendors concerned it may scare away visitors to the 42nd Brookings Art Festival. More than 75,000 people are expected to attend the two-day event starting tomorrow.

For more than four years, Mike Pappas and his wife Gail set up shop alongside 6th Street for the Brookings Art Festival. The event's been successful for the Kansas City couple, but one look at the street and now they're not so sure.

"It's a good spot on the main road when the main road is roading," Mike said.

The city tore up the road to make utility improvements along Pioneer Park. Vendors set up across the street aren't sure how many people will make the trip over the dirt road.

"My first thought was, it's probably going to kill the show," Mike said.

The road did look worse earlier this week, according to Park Director Peter Colson who says crews filled in around sewage pipes so festival-goers can safely walk across 6th Street. But says the closed road might be an asset this year.

"It's a huge project that's being undertaken and of course, with the weather that we've had this year, it's put the construction season far behind," Brookings Parks and Recreation Director Peter Colson said.

"Yesterday was a mess," Connie Balcom said. "They got it nice and smooth so you can walk around it."

Balcom and her husband Paul are also set up across 6th Street. Despite the construction, they say it's not going to be a problem for the 75,000 expected visitors - once they get out of their car.

"I don't think that road is going to be a big fat pain," Balcom said. "For the person driving their car down that road, yes. But not after they once get here."

For those who don't want to mess with construction on 6th Street, festival organizers have set up a series of shuttles around the city where you can park and be taken to Pioneer Park for free.

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