Fallasburg Arts Festival Celebrates 50th Anniversary this Weekend

Photo courtesy of LowellArts

We received the following press release from LowellArts about this weekend’s Fallasburg Arts Festival.

 

LOWELL, MI, August 10, 2018 – Celebrating its 50th year, the annual Fallasburg Arts Festival is presented by LowellArts and will be held on September 15 and 16. The two-day festival includes 100 fine art and fine crafts booths, timeless craft demonstrations, live music, children’s activities, and food booths. Hours: Saturday and Sunday, 10am-5pm. Admission is free. Location: Fallasburg Park, 1124 Fallasburg Park Drive, Lowell, MI, 49331. For more information, visit lowellartsmi.org.

Artist booths are juried and a broad range of different mediums are represented including jewelry, sculpture, ceramics, glass, fiber, mixed media, wood, painting, drawing, photography, floral, basketry, print-making, and more. Demonstrators of traditional crafts are located in the pavilion. Visitors of all ages are invited to watch the artisans at work. Demonstrations include: iron forging, mosaic, fly tying, leather craft, origami, quilting, wood carving, weaving, and more.

Musical entertainment is held on an outdoor stage both days of the event, featuring a variety of music styles. Saturday music line-up: 10:15 The Bruce Matthews Band, 11:30 Paddy’s Cure, 1:00 Fauxgrass, 2:30 Hawks and Owls, 4:00 Josh Rose and the Founding Fathers. Sunday music line-up: 10:15 Lighting Matches, 11:30 Steam Powered Bluegrass, 1:00 The Cheater B’s, 2:30 The Adams Family.

An enclosed Children’s Area provides children the opportunity to decorate and take home a pumpkin. Food booths offer an array of fall-inspired and festival foods, offered by local community organizations. Visitors are invited to purchase raffle tickets to win one of over 90 artist-made items donated by festival artists or the grand prize quilt created for the event. Annual attendance estimates are 25,000. This year’s event sponsors are Fifth Third Bank, Meijer, All-Weather Seal, and Local Spins.

Fallasburg Park is located off Lincoln Lake Road north of downtown Lowell at 1124 Fallasburg Park Drive, Lowell, MI. Lowell is located 14 miles east of Grand Rapids and 1-hour from Lake Michigan and Lansing. For more information, contact LowellArts at (616) 897-8545, e-mail info@lowellartsmi.org or visit www.lowellartsmi.org.

The History of the Fallasburg Arts Festival

On the weekend of September 15 and 16, the Fallasburg Arts Festival will celebrate its 50th anniversary in Fallasburg Park just three miles north of the city of Lowell. The Festival was born in 1968 as the Fallasburg Fall Festival, and it was hosted by the West Central Michigan Historical Society (now known as the Fallasburg Historical Society) as a fundraiser. At that time, it was a craft selling event serving refreshments of doughnuts and cider. The participants wore turn of the century (that’s the 20th Century) attire, and visitors were encouraged to pack a picnic lunch and enjoy the Flat River at Fallasburg Park.

Fast forward to 1978… the WCMHS invited the newly formed Lowell Area Arts Council (now LowellArts) to help with the festival’s continued growth. Soon the festival would become a juried show with artists from across the Midwest vying for coveted booth locations. At the same time the event was maturing into a truly community event with local nonprofit organizations using it as their fundraiser as well, selling every kind of food from Rotary Dogs and Apple Dumplings to Walking Tacos and Corn on the Cob. This was also the year that the tradition of the Quilt Raffle would be introduced with a special Fallasburg Quilt being designed and raffled off. Today the raffle includes gifts from nearly every participating artist, allowing for nearly 100 happy winners at the conclusion of the festival. You need not be present to win.

Music was also an original feature of the festival but in 1999 the organizers moved to find sponsors to provide for even more local talent on the festival stage. This year, over thirty musicians with ties to the Lowell community will perform during the two-day event.

Many things have changed in the past 50 years but many have remained. Today LowellArts is the sole coordinator of the Fallasburg Arts Festival, and the event hosts an average of 10,000 visitors a day for the event, rain or shine. The Festival has always prided itself on the quality of the original artwork; jewelry, weaving, metalwork, basketry, and so much more that is made available for sale. No commercial products or mass produced goods are allowed past the jury process. In addition, the long held tradition of demonstrations of age old skills such as weaving, iron forging, carving, chair caning, and more is on display in the Fallasburg Park pavilion. Admission and parking are still free. The setting just above the Flat River is as beautiful as ever. Shoppers still search out treasures and one-of-a-kind gifts and yes, the Fallasburg Historical Society’s members can still be found selling doughnuts and cider on the south end of the Fallasburg pavilion. After all, it’s a tradition.

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