The 'Original' Old Town Art Fair Returns June 8-9th

Celebrating the Return of the Oldest Art Fair in Michigan

Posted In: Arts & Entertainment, , Culture, ,   From Issue 946   By: Robert E Martin

18th May, 2023     0

The Old Town Saginaw Art Fair serves as the crown jewel of summer events for The Old Town Westside Business Association, and until the late 2000s it stood as the longest running art fair in the State of Michigan, pre-dating even the Ann Arbor Art Fair. At its zenith back in 1995, which marked the 30th anniversary of this phenomenal artistic showcase, it covered five blocks and featured over 100 exhibitors displaying and selling their original high-quality artwork.

As the westside business district was transitioning in the aftermath of the 2007-2008 credit-default SWOP financial crisis, with many of the popular and historic nightclubs & businesses either changing hands or closing, and many of the original co-founders of the Art Fair such as Samuel S. Carter of The Carter Shop (currently the location of Jake’s Bar & Grill) along with Dennis & Melodye Adomaitis and Tom & Mary Ellen Whitney (currently the location of The Old Town Distillery) either retiring or passing on, this landmark showcase disappeared for a few years until it was revived back in the summer of 2016-17 as part of the ambitious Old Town Bash musical showcase, which sadly was beleaguered by inclement weather. And then just as it was gaining steam in subsequent years, the COVID crisis came along to throw another stick into the spoke of creativity.

But now The ‘Original’ Old Town Saginaw Art Fair is returning to its rightful & proper home at the corner of 100 S. Hamilton & Court Streets on its traditional dates of Thursday & Friday, June 8th & 9th, and the anticipation is palpable.

“I’m very excited to be participating in this art fair,” says gifted Saginaw artist Susie McColgan. “I used to be in it when I was starting as an artist in high school, so I’m happy to see that it is going strong and back to the original dates. I’ve been painting 24/7 lately and am excited to be showcasing some of my new work. I will also be in the Andersen Enrichment Peony Garden Event the following week and am excited to display my newest peony paintings and an assortment of my other new work.”

This year the times of the festival will run from 11 AM - 7 PM on Thursday, June 8th; and 10:30 AM - 6 PM on Friday, June 9th. 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.

Although some controversy & confusion has ensued over the fact there will be a second Saginaw Art Fair happening later in the summer, according to Pamela Barerra of Jake’s, “We wanted to keep the Old Town Art Fair in Old Town Saginaw and return it to its original dates. We’re a non-profit organization and give our proceeds back into the community by purchasing flower pots, trash cans, purchasing Snowflakes to add to the Christmas lights during the holidays, and improving the area; and that’s how we want to remain.  So far we have well-over 20 artists signed up to present their works, and there is still time to apply.”

Here’s the roster of artists showcasing their works:

Robert Rokita - Dreamscape Clay Studio / Rhonda Olson - Painting / Karen Brooks - Karen Kabscapes - prints, notecards & coasters / Susan McColgan - paintings / Deborah Irvine - DIA Custom Jewelry / Carol Wilkin - Decorated Jackets / Kimberly Sutter - “Mom & Me Making Memories” - original watercolor art / Alan Tobias -  Birdhouses / Connie Jane & Angela Radlinski - paintings / Elizabeth Makinen / Pottery & Design by Ellie / Dakota Rocha / Wholehearted Creations - Fine Art, Photography & jewelry / Danny Swaffer - Watercolors - Painting / Todd Jones / Cindy Lou’s Art & Metal Works / Julie Kaczorowski -  Riverside Originals by Julie - Paintings & Water colors / Kayla Peake-Trautner/KP Originals - Murals & Sign Painting / William Nardin - WMN Woodworking / Veronica Lazorchak & Lorrie Wiechman - Waterman-Fine Art Painting / Nevaeh Powell - Photography / Gabriella Kingsbury-Thrive Creative - Mixed Media Art & Design / Shirleigh Vinson - Shirleigh’s Marbled Art / Kendra Kempf / Manic Antics Creative - Art from various cement, plaster & pigments to create containers / Gabrielle Deyarmond - Hand drawn illustrations & custom patterns.

Community organizations such as Major Chord for Minors and Potter St. Station will also be present, along with tons of fun activities for children in the Kid’s Zone Tent such as hand-painting on one of Saginaw’s iconic plaster Bean Bunnies; Face Painting, creating ‘Kindness Stones’, Rock Painting, Adirondack Chair Decorating, Chalk the Walk, and the Home Depot Family Building Project.

Food vendors will consist of Flavor Island (snow cone’s & lemonade); Tio Lio’s Food Tent (offering different flavors of rolled ice cream and Kogel hotdogs wrapped in a corn tortilla & deep fried, served with cheese & salsa sauce); Gramps Kettlecorn, and Maria’s Food Truck featuring Mexican Fare.

People are encouraged to visit originaloldtownsaginawartfair.com 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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