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Posted 9/3/2013

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By Brandon Beach


For the past 26 years, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Bay Model Visitor Center has been home to the ever-growing Sausalito Art Festival.

"It just seemed like a natural fit when it came here in 1988," said Chris Gallagher, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers park manager at the Bay Model, "and it’s great exposure for us."

The popular waterfront festival celebrated its 61st year of showcasing the art community during this past Labor Day weekend. More than 33,000 visitors walked through the doors making it a record year for attendance.

"People travel from all over the Bay Area to be here, even the country," said Cheryl Popp, the festival’s publicist. "We get museum curators, collectors and people who just want to take in the art."

Each year, some 1,500 artists vie for 250 spaces at the festival. Artists are evaluated by a jury panel and compete in a variety of mediums from painting to sculpture.

"The quality of the art is much higher than what you might see at a local craft fair," said Popp.

With a maze of art booths lined up at Marinship Park, festivalgoers also took in the many other attractions—live music, food, local wine and tours of the Bay Model, a working hydraulic model of the San Francisco Bay and Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta System.

Before it settled at the Bay Model, the festival got its start back in 1952 setting up at a small beach area near downtown Sausalito. Over the years, it has moved from the beach to a school parking lot to city hall to a public park.

"It just outgrew these venues," said Popp. "That’s what prompted us to meet with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. The Bay Model just seemed like a prime location."

With sun-filled days and record crowds ambling through the many art booths, it also turned out to be a prime weekend for the 61st running of Sausalito’s beloved festival.