After a few years of uncertainty that all public events have faced during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Wyandotte Street Art Fair will be back in full swing July 13-16, with at least one significant change related to entertainment and alcoholic beverages.
Like almost all annual events that involved large crowds, the art fair was canceled in 2020 and its fate was uncertain last year as the pandemic lasted longer than most people thought.
Originally, it was announced that the 2021 art fair would be canceled, but relatively late in the game, the event organizers changed course and decided to hold the event.
According to special events coordinator Heather Thiede-Chamlin, some artists and attendees had already made plans after learning the fair had been canceled, which meant fewer attendees than in most years.
But overall, she said things went well. Thiede-Chamlin said attendance was not down, but “different”.
“We didn’t have a big entertainment area by the river, instead (we) focused on street performers, so it was a much quieter fair,” he said. she stated. “More focus on art and small business, socializing, eating and having fun. Artists, food vendors, artisans and businesses said it was the best fair they had had in years, so it was a special moment for us.
But it turns out that some of these changes will be permanent.
The beer tent is gone, as are the party bands that performed by the river.
With the changes that took place with the fair in 2021, the event organizers used the river parking lot for parking, which was well received, so this remains for this year’s art fair.
With no beer tent, Thiede-Chamlin said beer would not be sold to avoid interference with the local downtown beer company. Instead, seasonal cocktails will be featured.
For those who wish to enjoy adult drinks, they can do so in the Wyandotte Social District, an “open container” neighborhood created by the Wyandotte City Council in August 2020.
The Social Quarter is a defined area with specific boundaries where patrons 21 and older may purchase and consume beer, wine or spirits in a designated common area outside the walls or patios of the bar or restaurant from which they were purchased.
Pedestrians can purchase alcoholic beverages at adjacent licensed establishments and stores, sit outside, or walk around, all while staying within the common area boundary.
Only bars and restaurants with a Social District license may serve beverages in specially approved Social District cups. The Wyandotte Social District will operate daily from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.
As for the musical entertainment, you won’t find it on the banks of the art fair, but rather closer to the artists and vendors.
“We plan to use the grassy area of Elm and First Street for a scenic acoustic entertainment area that will feature a variety of seating, as well as summer cocktails,” Thiede-Chamlin said. “This year we will have plenty of street performers along Biddle Avenue, as well as entertainment on Sycamore and Elm Street.”
Food will be plentiful, with over 30 food vendors and restaurants to tempt visitors’ taste buds with elephant ears, tacos, freshly squeezed lemonade and more.
Kids won’t be left out, as the fair brings back its popular children’s activity area. Sponsored by Meijer, the area will be located at Sycamore and Biddle Avenue and on the grassy lot, and will feature a variety of arts and crafts, as well as activities for young families.
Last but not least, “Find ART in Wyandotte” returns, inviting visitors to search for hidden ART among the artworks they view.
Those who find ART and return it to the information booth at the intersection of Maple Avenue and Biddle Avenue will receive an official “Find Art in Wyandotte” souvenir.
This year’s artwork was created by Conrad Lustig, who said he grew up in Wyandotte and has been at the Wyandotte Street Art Fair since 2019, he wanted to create something classic and iconic for the street art fair poster. ‘art.
“I chose to recreate Art and Dotte inspired by JC Leyendecker’s Saturday Evening Post covers,” Lustig said. “His work sits at the intersection of the idealized realism of the 1950s advertisements most associated with Norman Rockwell and the earlier simplified forms of the turn of the century, spanning the golden age of American illustration.”
Even for those who aren’t art history buffs, Lustig said he hopes the simple design and colorful characters evoke the same feeling as these vintage illustrations, with a modern twist.
“I like to imitate the work of famous artists as an exercise while creating my own work,” he said. “I am inspired by Renaissance and Baroque art as well as modern realism and surrealism. My style keeps evolving as I find new sources of inspiration.
The Wyandotte Street Art Fair remains one of Michigan’s largest art fairs, attracting artists from across the state, region and nation. More than 200,000 visitors are expected to stroll along historic downtown Wyandotte over the four-day period.
The fair will be open every day from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. from Wednesday July 13 to Saturday July 16.