The Old Town Saginaw Art Fair Weaves Commerce & Community Together June 6-7th

    Additional Reporting by
    icon May 16, 2024
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The oldest Summer Art Fair in the State of Michigan returns once again as the  ‘Original’ Old Town Saginaw Art Fair prepares to occupy the corner of 100 S. Hamilton & Court Streets with close to fifty featured artists on the dates of  Thursday & Friday, June 6th & 7th.

Featuring the talented work of numerous artists representing the top of their field in a broad array of media, the legacy of the Old Town Art Fair is legendary.  Dating back to 1965. it was conceived by a core group of respected local artists and business owners that included the late Samuel S. Carter, who contributed illustrations to the definitive history book about the Saginaw Valley known as Indians, Jacks & Pines. 

Along with Melodye & Dennis Adomaitis and the late Tom & Mary Ellen Whitney, who helped foster and expand both the size and scope of the Old Town Art Fair in the 1970s through the late 1990s, until its untimely demise in the early 2000's it stood as the longest running art fair in the State of Michigan, pre-dating even the Ann Arbor Art Fair. At its zenith in 1995, which marked the 30th anniversary of this amazing showcase, it covered five blocks and featured over 100 exhibitors displaying and selling their original high-quality artwork.

After returning to the streets of Old Town Saginaw back in 2018 and regaining traction for two years until the 2020 Pandemic, the Art Fair picked up where it left off in 2022, and last year returned to its original dates that fall the first weekend after Memorial Day.

According to Art Fair coordinator Pam Higgs Barrera, the Old Town Business Association is well on its way to returning to those days of glory, with nearly double the artists signing up for this year’s 2024 showcase than last year.

“I’m very excited because we’re doing things a little differently this year and adding more variety into the mix because of the fact that we’re adding 25 more artists than we had back in 2023.”

According to Barrera, the variety of creations represented will include Paintings, Photography, Woodworking, Metal, Mixed Media, Fiber, Fused Glass, Ceramics, Caricatures & Jewelry  Mary Fives will be bringing a loom for demonstrations and doing a booth, so we’ll have Fiber artwork represented; and a marvelous silversmith named Wolf Runner will be returning, who was here at the Art Fair in the very beginning,” she continues. “He will also have his workbench here and will be reading to children as well, because he is a very good storyteller. Plus, Ella Robinson from Ella’s Originals will be here with an amazing collection of high-end jewelry, and Cheryl Hadsall will be displaying her work with fused glass.”

This year the times of the festival will run from 10:30 AM - 6:00 PM on Thursday, June 6th, and 10:30 AM - 5:30 PM on Friday, June 7th. Located on the historic Old Town Saginaw riverfront and surrounded by beautifully restored historic architecture, popular local businesses, and colorful murals, unlike many similar events, this is a Juried Fine Arts Fair that gives established and aspiring artists the opportunity to showcase their talented work, bringing culture, life, and education to the streets of Old Town Saginaw. The Juried Art Awards prizes consist of the following: Best of Show $800; 2nd Place $500; Third Place $300; along with four Honorable Mentions at $200 each.

Additionally, there will be a whole some litany of Art Fair food vendors located over by the Court Street Bridge, with Paul Barrera from Jake’s doing hot dogs, cream & sugar ice cream, Kona Ice, popcorn, and all variety of baked potatoes. “We didn’t want to get too fancy with the food vendors because we don’t want to compete with all the restaurants located in the Old Town area,” notes Pam.

Community organizations such as Major Chords for Minors  will also be present, along with tons of fun activities for children in the Kid’s Zone Tent that Home Depot is bringing in with building activities and face painting for children.

“Reaction was very positive with last year’s Art Fair,” concludes Pam, “and all the artists said they did really well, especially on Thursday. One artist said she sold more artwork than she’s ever done previously at an Art Fair, and all the public feedback was fantastic. Plus, we conduct an artist survey and all the responses from the artists was that the Art Fair ran smoothly, everyone was friendly, and they loved the way the committee took care of their booths, so all of this is very encouraging.

People are encouraged to visit for updates on events and times and also look for signage in the Old Town area with smart codes for additional events, times, and information during the Art Fair.

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