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The 19th annual Afton May Fair will be May 21 to May 22 in Town Square Park in downtown Afton. Roughly 60 vendors will be set up.

Come for the art, stay for the pie

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It's art festival season again and Afton is gearing up for the first one of the year that celebrates spring -- May Fair.

Afton May Fair, sponsored by the Afton Area Business Association, will be May 21 and May 22 in Town Square Park.

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"It should be another fun event," said Kathy Jarvis, a member of the Afton Area Business Association.

Last year's event, which suffered from a lot of rain, drew between 4,000 and 5,000 people.

"We could easily double that if we had good weather," said Deb Larson, of the Afton Area Business Association.

The 19th annual May Fair will include a wide variety of art vendors including: jewelry, woodworking, glass blowing, metal crafts, garden art, photography, painting, caricatures, handbags and hats, handmade paper, soaps, toys and baby clothes.

"There's a little bit of everything," Jarvis said. "There is a great variety."

Larson said several art vendors will also be selling garden plants.

"They're extremely reasonably priced," she said. "Last year I loaded my car up."

This year roughly 60 vendors will be set up, Jarvis said.

Many of the this year's vendors are first-time vendors.

"Every year it mixes up a little bit -- we love having a mixture of people," Larson said. "I don't think we'll ever have trouble filling May Fair up with new artists."

In addition to the art vendors, food vendors will be set up at May Fair include: hot dogs, kettle corn, mini donuts, tacos, Chinese food, fried cheese curds, smoothies and sandwiches.

Last year May Fair began incorporating more family-friendly activities and that will be included again this year, Larson said.

Some of the activities include a train ride, moon bouncers, the Carpenter Nature Center Raptor Center and maybe even a face painter.

"The parents love to come and shop and the kids like to do the fun things," Larson said. "We're trying to differentiate May Fair from Art in the Park by having more family stuff here."

A few other May Fair favorites will be back again this year such as the Girl Scouts who will do the May Pole dance and the pie baking contest with special judge Marjorie Johnson, a blue ribbon baker.

"The pie baking actually gets pretty competitive," Larson said. "Last year there was a lot of ribbing going on and teasing about who was going to win.

"There's a fun small town old fashioned thing to it."

Larson said she enjoys admiring the talents of the bakers.

"It's fun to look at the pies even if you don't enter," she said. "The crust alone is amazing."

Larson said she is optimistic that this year's May Fair will be a draw for many people.

"People are really starting to want something more personal, something handmade and that means more to them than something they can just buy at the store," she said. "Once you go to one art fair, you want to go to more."

Jarvis said May Fair's success is also dependent on the weather.

"So far the weather forecast is good," she said. "But who knows what's going to change."

Afton May Fair is May 21 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and May 22 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. in Town Square Park. Visit www.aftonartfair.com for more information.

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Amber Kispert-Smith
Amber Kispert-Smith has been the schools and Afton reporter at the Woodbury Bulletin since 2008. She holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Minnesota. She previously worked as a reporter for Press Publications in White Bear Lake.
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