Bryan Haeffele photosMore than 500 people visited the Weir Farm National Historic Site on Friday, Aug. 25, to celebrate the National Park Service\u2019s 101st anniversary and take part in the park\u2019s first-ever Art in the Park Festival. Weir Farm at 735 Nod Hill Road is the only national park dedicated to American painting. Established in 1990, the park preserves a significant site of American Impressionism and provides a place for people to enjoy art and nature. People from various towns and states attended Weir\u2019s Art in the Park Festival, which featured live music, cake and lemonade, open houses of the Weir House and studios, and an art contest. More than 200 visitors created art using watercolor, pencil, pastel and printmaking supplies provided by the park, Weir Farm Chief of Interpretation, Education and Volunteer Services Kristin Lessard told The Bulletin, and \u201cover 20 plein air painters or advanced artists brought their field easels and created art.\u201d Stamford resident and Middlebrook teacher Jessica Zarnik stopped by the park with her daughter, Colleen, to \u201cenjoy the art day with friends and celebrate the 101st anniversary of national parks.\u201d Zarnick said she was \u201cfamiliar with the location\u201d and knew art teachers brought their students to Weir Farm, but had never been to the park herself. It was her daughter\u2019s first time, too. After taking a break to eat some cake, Colleen \u2014 who had already done a watercolor painting \u2014\u00a0was on her way back to the Burlingham Barn with her mom to do more art activities. Colleen spent two weeks at a Silvermine Arts Center summer camp, said Zarnick. \u201cShe\u2019s really into art\u00a0\u2014 I\u2019m just the supporter.\u201d Zarnick said their plan for the rest of the festival day was to \u201cjam out and listen to music, get into the groove and be inspired by nature.\u201d Elizabeth Arens, of Washington, D.C., said she and her daughter, Eleanor, decided to stop by the park while in town visiting family to partake in some of the festival\u2019s \u201cfun activities.\u201d When The Bulletin caught up with them, Arens and her daughter had just left the Burlingham Barn, where children\u2019s activities \u2014 including print- and hat-making, watercolor painting, colored pencil drawing and Junior Ranger activities \u2014 were being offered. \u201cWe have done watercolors, printing, hat-making,\u201d said Arens, \u201cand we are about to do a scavenger hunt inside the house.\u201d Branford resident Dotty Young brought her grandchildren, Olivia and James, of Scarsdale, N.Y., to the festival for two reasons. Six-year-old James \u201cloves to visit national parks,\u201d said Young, and four-year-old Olivia likes art. James said he likes national parks because he likes collecting Junior Ranger badges. \u201cThere\u2019s like 300-and-something,\u201d he said. \u201cWe\u2019re trying to get all of them,\u201d Olivia added. Young said she brought her grandchildren to Weir Farm without knowing about the Art in the Park Festival. \u201cI didn\u2019t know it was the big celebration,\u201d she said. \u201cWe hit the jackpot.\u201d Southbury resident Artemis T. Romell was one of several professional artists at the festival. She came with her husband, Michael, at the recommendation of their daughter, who lives in Wilton. Romell said she and her husband moved from Massachusetts a year or two ago and have been \u201ctrying to find all the [art-related] places.\u201d After about an hour or two at Weir Farm, Romell said, she was already a fan. \u201cI just love it here,\u201d she said. \u201cI think it\u2019s wonderful and very inspiring.\u201d A painter for about 35 years, Romell belongs to several art organizations, including three in Massachusetts and two in Connecticut. Painting started as a hobby, she \u00a0said, \u201cbut I\u2019ve become professional with it and I\u2019m selling them now.\u201d At the time The Bulletin spoke to her, Romell had already submitted one or two paintings into the Art in the Park Festival\u2019s art contest. \u201cI just finished a pastel of the garden and they hung it up,\u201d said Romell, who was getting ready to do a watercolor with supplies provided by the farm. Art contest Romell was one the of the art contest winners announced at the end of the day-long festival. She received the third-place Visitor\u2019s Choice Award. Eighty-eight works \u2014 submitted by people of all ages and skill levels \u2014 were submitted and judged on the use of color, quality of work, originality, creativity and how well they related to the \u201cImpressions of Weir Farm\u201d theme. First-, second- and third-place awards were given in categories for professional and advanced artists, adult artists, junior artists, and park volunteers and staff. There were also Visitor\u2019s Choice Awards and five unranked Judges Choice Special Awards. In the professional category, the first-place Weir Masterpiece Award went to Leslie Carone. The first-place Adult Artist Award went to Martha Lord and a youngster named Alexis took the first-place Junior Artist Award. At least two Wilton residents received awards: Francesca Monro, second-place Weir Masterpiece Award. Ryan McElroy, second-place Visitor\u2019s Choice Award and second-place Park Volunteer or Staff Award. To learn more about Weir Farm National Historic Site, visit nps.gov\/wefa.