City of Little Falls ready for 2000 Arts and Crafts Fair

The 28th Annual Arts and Crafts Fair—undoubtedly the city’s biggest event of the year—is expected to bring 100,000 visitors to Little Falls next weekend.

Sponsored by the Chamber of Commerce, the fair will be held throughout the city’s business district on Saturday, September 9, from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. and on Sunday, September 10, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. There will again be free shuttle buses running regularly from the fairgrounds and the Industrial Park on the west side. And, for the convenience of both residents and visitors, Our Lady of Lourdes Church has added a special 7 a.m. mass.

The Little Falls Arts and Crafts Fair has now evolved into the largest one of its kind in the upper midwest. And, it is so well organized that committee members are confident the weekend will come off without a hitch. “The members of the Arts and Crafts Fair Committee really listen to the feedback they get after each year’s event. We distribute a survey to all the vendors so we can get their input and we pay attention to visitor’s comments and opinions. The chamber has been fine tuning the fair for 27 years now,” said Chamber CEO Elaine Westerdahl-Delaney.

Due to the fair’s immense growth and the amount of work required to host an event of this size annually, there are subcommittees that now help out with the workload. The Arts and Crafts Fair Committee is responsible for a majority of the planning and organizing, while decisions are made primarily by the chamber board. “This has really been a lot of fun for me. There’s a great deal of work involved, but it is so well organized. I’ve really enjoyed myself,” said Dave Glaze, chairman of the Arts and Crafts Fair Committee.

While committee members agreed that planning the fair was a positive and fun experience, Glaze said, “Naturally, there is a certain amount of pressure involved with it. But, that’s because you want it to go over well and for things to run smoothly. The pressure is to keep the vendors and customers happy and keep them coming back.”

And, they do come back. There are many vendors and customers that return to the fair year after year. It also continues to attract new people, “We have new applicants every year. This works out well because it keeps it fresh and it adds to the mix and variety of what is being offered,” said Westerdahl-Delaney.

She attributes the success of the fair to several factors, and both her and Glaze agreed that ‘word of mouth’ was a tremendous part of it. “Word of mouth has been a big part of the fair’s success throughout the years. Then, there is the location. It is charming. People enjoy the scenic walk through downtown. And, the timing has also worked well. Falling after the Labor Day holiday, but still giving many a jump on their Christmas shopping,” said Westerdahl-Delaney.

The two chamber members also agreed that given the opportunity, they would not change anything about the Arts and Crafts weekend in Little Falls. “I enjoy the whole thing, even the crowds,” said Glaze.

The Arts and Crafts Fair is expected to generate a significant profit for the chamber, and, in turn, it will give $30,000 to the City of Little Falls. It will also use the profits to give out five $1,000 grants. This year’s recipients are the American Association of University Women for an exhibit by artist Laura A. Cosby at both the high school and middle school, Employment Enterprises Inc., Friends of the Carnegie Library, Habitat for Humanity and the Royalton Area Community/Senior Center.

“As a vendor myself, I know the Arts and Crafts Fair brings money into the community. It has a trickle down affect, so we all benefit,” said Glaze.

For those who may be looking for something new at the fair this weekend, there will be a new food court located behind Community First Bank, bringing the total number of food vendors to 70.

And, to compliment the 950 vending booths that will be in town, entertainment has been increased as well. There will be a harpist at both the food court and post office, a keyboard player at the Central Office and a Mexican group by Don’s Food Pride.

On Sunday, the Lone Eagle Auto Club will also be hosting the 26th Annual Auto Show and Swap Meet. This will be held at the Little Falls/Morrison County Airport from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Members of the chamber and the Arts and Crafts Committee strongly suggest that anyone driving to the fair, utilize the shuttle bus service provided.

More information is available by calling the Little Falls Area Chamber of Commerce at (320) 632-5155.

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