August is Art in the Mad River Valley so hang on to your hats, keep your eyes open and get ready for a whirlwind month of events, activities and eye candy.

The Vermont Festival of the Arts is now in its 15th year and it is stronger than ever with over a hundred exhibits, theater, classes, events, socials, tours, lectures and demonstrations to be had from one end of The Valley to the other.

Initially created as a 10-day event, the festival was expanded in 2006 to a monthlong initiative that is now considered one of Vermont’s premiere summer activities and attractions.

Tropical Storm Irene sidelined a full week of the festival activities and events in 2011 with presenters, participants and organizers busy helping others in the community clean up and recover from the flood.

Things are back on track this year with the Benches on Parade on display throughout The Valley as a colorful reminder of the festival and with multi-dimensional, multi-media, multi-age events going on from morning through evening seven days a week in more places than you can imagine.

It won’t be possible to swing a cat, as the saying goes, without hitting an Arts Festival participant or presenter, so watch where you walk and watch where you swing.

So take the time, make the time to take advantage of the festival offerings. All are open to the public. Many are free. Come on down to the community picnic this Sunday, August 5, at the Lareau Farm Inn and enjoy a community social as well as the opening of the Big Red Barn Art Show.

Take the time to watch artists at work in the Village Square Shopping Center and take the time to see some theater, listen to some music, admire some paintings, take a cooking class, eat your heart out at A Taste of The Valley, find and admire all of the 18 benches on display in The Valley.

Music, art, food, theater, demos, classes, picnics, fireworks! Who could ask for anything more?

Let the festival begin.