A crowd watches a performance by the Five Seasons Chamber Music Faculty on Saturday, July 2, 2022, during a Midsummer Garden Art Fair in Shakespeare Garden in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. (photo/Cindy Hadish)

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa — A picture-perfect evening accompanied music, dancing and readings during a Midsummer Garden Art Fair in Ellis Park’s Shakespeare Garden.

The event, on Saturday, July 2, 2022, was designed to draw attention to the hidden gem in northwest Cedar Rapids, said Barb Rhame, a member of the Wednesday Shakespeare Club in Cedar Rapids, which established the garden in 1927.

Amid a backdrop of the setting sun and relatively mild temperatures, about 80 people enjoyed music by the Five Seasons Chamber Music Faculty, a performance of “The Galloping Nag” English country dance by young dancers supported by the Dieman-Bennett Dance Fund and Shakespearean readings by Pat Martin, president of the Wednesday Shakespeare Club.

Posters showing the vision for future revitalization of the garden were displayed and attendees were treated to cookies, such as thyme shortbread and sugar cookies depicting the bard.

Related: Read about the history of the Shakespeare Garden

Al Pierson, president of the Northwest Neighbors Neighborhood Association, addresses the crowd during a Midsummer Garden Art Fair at Shakespeare Garden in Ellis Park. (photo/Cindy Hadish)

Proposed design elements of the revitalized garden include a multi-purpose stage for weddings, small concerts and other events; artist-made canopy structures; native plantings and a new location for the Shakespeare bust.

A bronze bust of Shakespeare, installed in the garden in 1931, resides in the lobby of Theatre Cedar Rapids and was replaced by the current polished cement bust.

The original entrance, designed by renowned artists Grant Wood and Marvin Cone to resemble the thatched roofed entrance to the cottage of Shakespeare’s wife, Anne Hathaway, was replaced by the current stone pillars in 1951, due to weather conditions. An original weeping mulberry tree, planted in 1927, still stands, having weathered floods from the nearby Cedar River, including unprecedented flooding in 2008.

The art fair was supported by the Northwest Neighbors Neighborhood Association; Wednesday Shakespeare Club; City of Cedar Rapids; Five Seasons Chamber Music Festival and Friends of Shakespeare Garden.

Learn more at www.friendsofshakespearegarden.org and see more photos of the event, below: