Earlier this year, the Town of Lyons was looking for alternative ways to have an outdoor festival to start the summer off with that would meet COVID-19 protocols. They were juggling whether outdoor concerts could happen, perhaps with pod seating, and/or if the annual Good Old Days could happen with social distancing. Both events are back in some form this summer. Seven concerts will take place in Sandstone Park on Thursdays. While Good Old Days, usually in Sandstone Park, will not happen this June, an Artisan Art Fair took its place, for one day, June 12, in Bohn Park. A mini-farmers’ market was added for a couple of hours in the morning. Local non-profits were invited to set up booths. Dechen Hawk was brought in to provide music (singing and piano) to the event. The vendor booths were lined up along the pathway, with the splashing river to the north, and Hawk’s music to the south, and shady trees bringing momentary protection from the 95 degree sunny day. The booths were placed several feet apart because of COVID-19 precautions, but it made the festival feel more relaxing, and gave attendees space to admire each booth’s array of goods at a comfortable pace.
I talked with many of the artists and vendors, and all of them said that the price of the booth was low enough to entice them to come, most to their first show in more than a year; and they were happy to report that they were doing well in sales. The one thing that was lacking was a food stand or truck. Amanda Anderson’s baked goods sold out by noon, and the farmers packed up their foods before the sun got hot. There were lots of moms bringing their kids, groups of lady friends sharing insights, and many dogs on leases glad to see so many people. The playground slides were in full use, with dads pushing the swings or lifting the smaller kids on to the monkey bars. Some outlying picnic tables were used by family gatherings. A few people walked down to the river’s edge to cool their toes, but the water was too swift, due to snowmelt, to venture in any further.
Non-profit groups earned hundreds of dollars, which were much needed after a year of curtailed fundraisers. The Lyons Community Foundation sold their popular root-beer ice cream floats. The Lyons Redstone Museum sold history books and LaVern Johnson’s famous Never Fail Fudge. The Lyons Farm Project was present to talk about their upcoming project the Food Forest; and they had a representative from Simply Bee Organics, who gave away little packets of flower seeds that developed into flowers that bees loved to utilize.
There were so many smiling happy faces! Many people said they were thrilled to be outside at an art fair, walking around, without any masks. I met dozens of people who I had not seen for more than a year! I probably spent half my time just talking and catching up with people’s lives. This is what a ”community art fair” is all about. Many people expressed that they hope the art fair is an annual event in Bohn Park, and that it is expanded to two days… and, oh, yes, that there is food for purchase. Thanks to the Town of Lyons for putting on such a friendly, fun event!