Spring into Art is turning into a traditional event for Derby’s residents and visitors. Now in its third year, Spring into Art, which is free and open to the public, is set for 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. April 28 at Madison Avenue Central Park, 512 E. Madison Ave.
The event is a combination of promoting the arts, a community celebration and, of course, a welcome for warmer temperatures and sunnier skies.
While art is a focus of the event, it’s also designed to be a day for all ages to enjoy.
As Kristy Bansemer, the city’s communications director, put it: “We encourage you to bring your family and friends and enjoy a fun day at the park.”
There will be a variety of artwork to browse and purchase, from paintings to handmade jewelry to prints and custom string art, she said.
Art vendors will be set on the event lawn. There are 22 signed up and there also will be two booths dedicated for the 150th Anniversary memorabilia, Celebrating Derby history book and Derbyopoly sales.
While attendees are encouraged to patronize the vendors, there are no-cost art activities, which are “always a hit,” she said.
Those “make-and-take art stations” are located in the Pavilion building north of the event lawn. Outside of the structure will be a face painter, a balloon artist and the DRC Art Spot.
Food has turned out to be a popular part of the event, which stretches over the lunch hour. Eight food trucks are scheduled to be on scene and they will be west of the Pavilion.
The offerings range from sandwiches to kettle corn, hot dogs, barbecue, Mexican favorites and even a touch of the exotic with Thai food.
On the west edge of the park, vendors from the Kansas Grown Farmers Market will be offering a wide variety of fresh produce and custom-made goods.
To the south of the art vendors, there is a full slate of entertainment set throughout the day in the Amphitheater. Attendees may take their lunches to that area and enjoy a variety of entertainment.
It kicks off at 11 a.m. with Evann McIntosh, a local artist from Derby High School. At noon, there are young dancers from Raeann’s Fancy Footwork, followed by cellist Seth Girton at 1 p.m. Two elementary school choirs will perform: the Tanglewood Elementary Tiger Choir at 2 p.m. and the Cooper Elementary Choir at 2:30 p.m.
The shows are wrapped up by the McConnell Air Force Base Cheerleaders at 3 p.m.
An outdoor event in Kansas carries a risk of weather turning adverse, but Bansemer said it’s set to go on, rain or shine. In case of inclement weather, most activities will move inside The Venue on the south side of the park.
Bansemer said there has been a lot of excitement and anticipation about the activities and “we look forward to another great community event,” she said.
City organizations involved with Spring into Art include the City of Derby, the Derby Recreation Commission, the Derby Public Library, the Derby Arts Council, and Derby Public Schools.
Mayor Randy White has made it official: he’s running for re-election. White filed for the election this month and he has at least one other challenger, current City Council member Mark Staats.
The deadline for any others to file is noon June 3. There is no political affiliation needed to run for the office as it’s nonpartisan.
White’s experience in city government includes two years on the Planning Commission, four years on the City Council and his current four-year mayoral term.
Because of the change in the state’s election law – moving city elections from the spring to fall – his term will actually be longer than that. He was sworn into office in April 2015, but his term goes into late this year.
White has an upbeat assessment of conditions in the city.
“Things are going pretty well in Derby right now,” he said.
He credits much of that to what he calls its “well-run departments.”
The daily-needed services, such as police and fire departments, along with the Senior Center, library and water department, operate smoothly, he said.
“They’re some of the best in the state of Kansas,” he said.
That makes the job of mayor easier, he said.
White, who is 60 and said he’s “a couple of years from retiring,” said he wants to keep on being mayor. That includes being the official representative of the city, which he said is one of the major differences between being a council member and mayor.
In that regard, citizens will often see him at ceremonies, events at which White said he enjoys speaking.
The mayor is the only official of the governing body who is elected at-large by all voters of the city. Along with his public presence, the mayor presides over council meetings, facilitates communication among elected officials and assists the council in setting goals and policies.
Also, White meets with City Manager Kathy Sexton once a week to communicate each other’s concerns and discuss current issues.
White said he’s a fiscal conservative and is not interested in raising taxes.
“We need to be careful with spending taxpayers’ money,” he said.
Among recent accomplishments, White is especially proud to continue building a strong relationship with nearby McConnell AFB, a new fire station and expanding the parks system, including adding two new major parks, and working on another one, Decarsky Park.
He also is pleased with the city’s 150th anniversary celebration, now underway.
“It’s a good time to be mayor,” he said.
While Staats is a competitor, White said it won’t be a harsh or personal contest and that he has a lot of respect for Staats and what he’s done for the city.
The mayor gets a monthly stipend of $500, but no other allowances, such as for a cell phone or in-town mileage.
“Money is not the reason you’re the mayor of Derby, Kansas, I can say that,” White said.
However, long-distance car travel is reimbursed and out-of-town trips to professional gatherings are paid for as authorized in the budget process.
White has lived in Derby since 1987. He has been employed at Spirit AeroSystems since 1984. Mayor White is married to Pam. They have children and grandchildren and are members of South Rock Christian Church.
There won’t be much campaign visibility right now, he said, as “November is a long way off.”
There will be some fundraising during the summer and White will ramp up his presence on social media.
As for any predictions, White cautions that “we’ll see what happens.” But he’s confident voters will like his record during the past four years and are pleased with the city’s condition.