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'I just try everything'

by BILL BULEY
Staff Writer | August 5, 2023 1:08 AM

COEUR d’ALENE — A corn dog was the first thing Buck Palmer tried at Taste of Coeur d’Alene.

It did not disappoint.

“Very good,” he said on a warm Friday afternoon at City Park.

Palmer was in heaven with food booths seemingly everywhere during one of the biggest weekends of the year. As far as he's concerned, the crafts are great, but “the food court is the b’s and e’s.”

“I just try everything. If it looks like I want it, I’ll just try it,” he said.

Thousands of people descended on downtown Coeur d’Alene, City Park and the North Idaho College campus for Taste of Coeur d’Alene, the Street Fair and Art on the Green.

While sharing commonalities, each event has a distinct style.

Among the hundreds of offerings, visitors found plenty of needful things at Art on the Green, great grub at the Taste and clothes, hats, shoes and more at the Street Fair.

At Art on the Green, people listened to music, enjoyed $3 ice cream cones, visited the beer and wine garden and checked out the many booths that included amazing photography and paintings. Among them was one with ceramics by James Diem.

He’s been part of the event for 15 years and loves it.

“They take care of us,” he said.

Diem creates colorful mugs, plates, bowls and decorated mirrors that are always attracting attention.

He considers his work “high quality functional art” that can be put to good use.

“I’m known for my colors,” he said.

Scott Dodson was back for the 25th year, creating a masterpiece sandcastle.

“Every year, I try to do the best castle I've ever done,” he said, as admirers watched and took pictures.

He was making good progress Friday, with family’s help, and said it will be finished Sunday.

Building a detailed sandcastle with turrets, walls, towers and doors can be overwhelming, he said. But he tries not to think about it and just starts at the top and works his way down.

“You just go for it,” he said.

The Street Fair on Sherman Avenue was crowded early and Dexter Rothschild of Over the Line Art was busy drawing caricatures.

He was turning them out pretty quickly.

“If I’m at an alopecia conference, everybody takes about two minutes, but if I’m at a big hairdo conference, people take about five minutes,” he said, smiling.

Holly Hansen was at her usual spot at Second and Sherman with her Eleanor’s booth featuring handmade leather shoes from Peru.

Her signs drew smiles. One said “The boss called … They said you can buy the shoes.”

Another read, “Life is short, buy shoes.”

“People specifically come down to find me and buy more pairs,” she said.

Sales were solid in the first few hours, and Hansen expects a great weekend in her seventh year at the Street Fair.

“Fantastic,” she said.

Farther up Sherman Avenue, Gregg “Viz” Visintainer was wrapping up art he just sold and chatting with more potential buyers looking over his Viz Art.

Visintainer, whose family has roots in the Silver Valley, began drawing when he was 15. At age 24, battling “his demons,” he spent three months on a single piece called “Lonely World.”

It was then he knew his life’s path.

“It was like I got this gorilla off my back,” Visintainer said.

His work, while precise, is not computerized.

“The colors you see are coming from the pens that I use,” he said.

There are hidden pictures and words in his art, so look closely.

“The more you look, the more you find,” he said.

An energetic and personable Visintainer mingled Friday with visitors, shook hands and thanked them for their support.

“This is what I love, traveling the country, meeting people and showing them what I do,” he said.

Taylor Meserve was selling “handmade ammo jewelry" at the Street Fair. Bracelets, necklaces, money clips, key rings and divot repair tools for golf all were based around recycled bullet casings.

“I get most of the casings myself,” she said.

Friends, family and customers also keep spent shells for her.

She’s been doing this since she was 13 and spends summers traveling to fairs and rodeos and other community events.

Friday, Taylor was joined by her proud mom, Annette Meserve.

“This is my baby,” Annette Meserve said.

Together, they greeted customers with happy hellos. Interest was high and sales were strong.

Taylor Meserve said the Street Fair has always been good to her.

“This is a really fun one," she said.

Art on the Green, Taste of Coeur d’Alene and the Street Fair continue today and Sunday.

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BILL BULEY/Press

People at Art on the Green at North Idaho College are reflected in art work on Friday.

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BILL BULEY/Press

Gregg "Viz" Visintainer, left, wraps up artwork while a customer looks over his work during the Street Fair on Friday.

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Buck Palmer tries a corn dog at Taste of Coeur d'Alene on Friday.

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Dexter Rothschild draws Tom Smith during the Street Fair on Friday.

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James Diem is reflected in a mirror at his booth at Art on the Green on Friday.

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Scott Dodson works on a sand castle during Art on the Green on Friday.

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Kevin McGruder holds up an ice cream cone he made for a customer on Friday at Art on the Green.

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Holly Hansen talks to a customer at her booth at the Street Fair on Friday.

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Taylor Meserve helps a customer at her booth offering handmade ammo jewelry at the Street Fair.

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People check out dresses for sale at the Street Fair.

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Mike Brodwater of Northern Exposure Photography stands by his work during Taste of Coeur d'Alene.

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People line up for lemonade at Taste of Coeur d'Alene.

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People look over some of the art work at Art on the Green.