Victorian Art Fair back for 33rd year
WEST BRANCH — For the 33rd year, the annual Victorian Art Fair is returning to Irons Park Aug. 11-12 for a weekend of fun for all ages.
According to Chairwoman Marcia Young, this year’s fair will have plenty of action for first-timers and frequent visitors alike.
“We have put together an event where the whole family can enjoy a day of activities, while shopping at the many arts and crafts vendors,” Young said.
The action is scheduled to begin with a kickoff pancake breakfast from 7 a.m. to 11 a.m. Saturday, including a welcome ceremony at 10 a.m.
Throughout the weekend, Young said artists will have booths set up all over the park, showing off and selling their goods.
“We have many new exhibitors this year with a variety of unusual arts and crafts,” Young said. “It’s a great time to find that special gift for someone on your birthday, anniversary or Christmas list.”
In addition to the art and crafts for sale, Young said the weekend will be filled with plenty of musical performances.
The Banjotainers are bringing their blend of Dixieland and jazz tunes to Irons Park. The Heartland Harmony Chorus, Sunrise Harmony Chorus and Harmonic Meisters Chorus are also scheduled to delight the crowds with their musical talents.
Young said the girls from the 2012 Miss Victorian Court will also be performing at the fair, capping off the weekend as the final performance of the fair on Sunday.
She said there are plenty of activities to keep the younger ones busy the whole weekend too.
The events she highlighted included the frog racing contest, a teddy bear picnic, cherry seed spitting contest, ice cream licking contest, a boat race in the creek, and much more.
Young said one of the bigger draws is the baby contest, which takes place Saturday at 11:30 a.m. Contestants between ages 0 months and 24 months are judged in a variety of categories, including nicest smile, prettiest eyes, prettiest hair, and much more.
For those who want some hands-on lessons in arts and crafts, Young said there will be demonstrations at the gazebo in the park all weekend. She said the demonstrations include lessons on wool spinning, acrylic painting, caricature carving and flute and piccolo.
As the fair has been going strong for years, Young said it wouldn’t be where it is today without the help of many different people and organizations.
“I think the biggest reason the art fair has been successful throughout the years is the community involvement in helping the West Branch Creative Arts Association produce this huge event,” Young said. “The City of West Branch has graciously allowed us to use the park for the event. Many nonprofit organizations contribute to its success, from selling food items, sponsoring games for the kids, helping with traffic control and helping our exhibitors get unloaded and loaded.”
Young said the whole community should be proud of this event.
“There is so much work being done behind the scenes to successfully pull this event off,” Young said. “This is truly a community effort and one that is profitable for all as we try and bring in visitors to our beautiful city.”
While she said the event is a positive one for the local community, it also has benefited from the support of artists from all over the state.
“The Victorian Art Fair was originally started to showcase local artists and give them a chance to not only show their talent, but seek sales from their products,” Young said. “Shortly after the fair began, we received many exhibitor requests from outside our area, and the fair started to grow in leaps and bounds.”
Young said while the event is an opportunity for other Michigan artists to show their works, submissions from local artists have been on the rise in recent years.
Once this year’s fair is done, Young said there will be no waiting on getting ready for next year.
“The Victorian Art Fair Committee starts working on next year’s fair as soon as this year’s fair is finished,” Young said. “We are always looking for ways to improve our event. We have a committee of 10 people who meet each month to work on the plans for the event, but ultimately, the whole community is involved by the time we get to the next fair.”
For more information, visit www.victorianartfair.com or call 989-345-3856.