Last weekend was the fifth year for the Crystal Lake Art Fair, hosted by 40 North and the Urbana Park District (you can read about last year’s fair here). This was my first year attending, so I was very excited all week, and then very disappointed when I saw the weather on Saturday. After confirming on Facebook the fair would be happening rain or shine, I headed out with my kids and a friend and hoped the rain would hold off while we were there. It was a little drizzly when we arrived (we lucked out with super close parking and avoided the overflow lot), but the rain ended up stopping for the hour we were there.
I commend the artists and vendors for sticking it out; I spoke to a few of them and in some cases the rain prevented certain pieces from being displayed, and in at least one case, a vendor’s booth had flooded. There was still a surprising number of people — and there were many more by the time we left — but I’m sure the turn-out is usually much better when the weather cooperates.
There were two food trucks on site, Sugga Shaii Sweets (cupcakes in jars and cookies) and Flour and Fire Pizza. We got the cupcakes first, as one should do, and got our pizza to go before we left; a wise choice since it started pouring again on the drive home. The Hotta Ricotta pizza was incredible, and I’m going to think about it constantly until I have it again.
UrVANa was set up in the pavilion with crafts and popsicles for the kids. Illustrator Dan Wild was also set up out of the rain offering two-minute caricatures.
The main draw is, of course, the artists. There were 40 artists present, representing a vast array of media: caricatures, woodworking, ceramics, painting, jewelry, glass, fiber, metal, photography, and printmaking. While I was familiar with some of them, many of the artists were new to me. One of my favorite discoveries, and the first tent to lure me out of the rain, was Jerry Rhoads, who creates beautiful woodworking pieces. Another special mention to Midwestcapades (the main image for this article) who displayed stunning highly-detailed nature photography.
While I cannot include photos of every booth, check out the photos below for more of my favorite pieces from this year’s art fair:
While it was a shame about the weather, it was overall a great time and a fantastic showing of local artistic talent. The organizers really did a great job of creating a family-friendly art-centered event, with good food and enough activities to keep even the youngest attendees from boredom.