The East Lansing Arts Festival returns this weekend

EAST LANSING, Mich. (WILX) — It’s one of the biggest events on the calendar every summer in the middle of Michigan. Downtown East Lansing gears up for the annual arts festival.

The streets were packed in the evening, but earlier in the day, when vendors were just starting to arrive, News 10 was able to chat with them about the impact a festival like this has on their business. Last year, the East Lansing Art Festival was entirely online, and this summer artists are just happy to be back in person.

A mother/daughter company has been present in this festival for 45 years. Jess Taber sells art as KT Leather Designs.

“We are ready to get back to work. we have a lot of stock, ready to sell and see customers because we haven’t seen them in a year and a half either,” Taber said. The festival has around 80 stalls, half the number in a normal year. But sellers say it will still benefit them and downtown businesses. Paul Aude of Paul Aude Designs is in his 6th year at the Festival.

“When they finish shopping, people start looking for places to go for lunch, dinner or a drink,” Aude said. “So everyone will benefit from festivals like this, because everyone makes money from festivals. Not just us, but also everyone around festivals.

One of those places is Jolly Pumpkin. Rudy Richmond is in the East Lansing area and has been running restaurants for eight years. He saw what the festival can do for the city, and what it could do for his restaurant which opened last fall.

Richmond said: “It’s great for businesses here, especially our patio. This is a great opportunity for us to restore our name to East Lansing, or East Lansing in general. I feel like we bring uniqueness to East Lansing and to the art fair as well.

Foot traffic is what businesses and vendors are looking for and from this festival they are expected to get it.

“It’s always a really good crowd that comes out for that,” Richmond said. “It’s a nice family atmosphere, I really like that.” Aude said: “It brings people together in one place and everyone loves being here.”

Attendees over the weekend will see stalls with jewelry, glassware, woodworking, painting, and more. And for those worried about COVID-19, artists will only occupy one side of Albert Avenue here to facilitate social distancing.

The festival starts Saturday at 10 a.m. and lasts until 6 p.m. It resumes Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

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Reggie S. Williams