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Sunny Sunday draws crowd to Street Faire

Despite steady rains that soaked vendors, artisans and festival-goers alike on Saturday, a more temperate, sunny Sunday ended the seventh annual Street Faire at the Lakes "on a high note," according to organizer Mary Beth Gilsdorf.

"I was impressed with how everyone stuck it out on Saturday," Gilsdorf said, noting that attendance was estimated at "between 1,000 and 2,000" for the first day, despite steady rains that continued from the start of the festival at 10 a.m. until a little after 5 p.m.

"We have a lot of loyal and diehard customers (for the Street Faire)," Gilsdorf noted, adding that she was pleased to note that the artists "weren't distraught" about the weather.

"They were impressed by how many people still came (despite the weather)," she added. "The musicians still performed, and people still gathered under the tent to listen."

Still, Gilsdorf admitted, "Saturday did seem like it lasted forever. It rained pretty much all day, and the artists were all soaked to the bone.

"I know we always say (events will take place) 'rain or shine,' but we've never been tested quite like that before."

Fortunately, however, a soggy Saturday was followed by a warm, sunny Sunday.

"Sunday was wonderful -- we had solid crowds all day," said Gilsdorf, adding that attendance for the second day had been estimated at between 8,000-10,000.

"The day just flew by," she added. "I'm glad we ended on such a high note."

Gilsdorf said the artists "seemed pleased" by the overall attendance, and enjoyed the atmosphere.

"They really like the setup -- it's not crowded, and the booths are open on both sides -- I like to say it's 'stroller-friendly,'" she said. "There's plenty of room for everybody -- it really lowers the 'crabby factor.'"

Gilsdorf was also pleased by the fact that the construction crews working on the addition to the Becker County Courthouse -- which is adjacent to the Street Faire site -- had done an excellent job of cleaning up around the construction zone and making sure there were adequate measures taken to ensure the festival-goers' safety.

"It was a good test for us, with the weather and the construction, but it turned out really well," she said. "I really think a tradition has been established here."

Why call it 'Street Faire'?

Gilsdorf noted that the Detroit Lakes Regional Chamber of Commerce -- which hosts the annual event -- had received a question from a North Dakota State University professor, "asking why our Street Faire is spelled with an 'e.'"

This was her response: "The name actually comes from the old-English spelling of the word fair - from the Renaissance period when art and music and merriment were thriving. Although we don't go to the theme extremes that the various Renaissance faires and festivals do, we like to evoke images of that kind of atmosphere rather than a county fair.

Vicki Gerdes

Staff writer at Detroit Lakes Newspapers for the past 16 years, currently editor of the entertainment and community pages as well as covering city council and the Lake Park-Audubon School Board. Living in DL with my cat, Smokey.

(218) 844-1454