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Stockholm readies for art lovers

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What started as a simple gathering of talented, outgoing, enthusiastic art-lovers on the shore of Lake Pepin has turned into an art fair that far out-numbers residents of this tiny town.

The Stockholm Art Fair was established in 1974 by a creative community. Back then, artists who had recently moved to the area held the art fair as a way to "let the people know who we were and what we did." The thinking was that if no one showed up, it would be just a picnic.

But people did come to the upstart fair along the Mississippi River. Chickens were bartered, kittens were given away and enough art was sold to set in motion an evolving annual event.

Linda Day, the fair's coordinator, became involved 20 years ago when the tradition was still young.

"In the beginning, it was as easy as setting up a card table," she said. "Grandparents would help their grandchildren set up a spot to sell some paintings or jewelry."

Although the fair has significantly evolved and gained popularity over the years, the nostalgia of a definitive community event remains the same.

"There is just something different about this art fair," Day explains. "It is hard to put into words, but you can just feel it -- part of it is the setting and art but there is such a feeling of a community coming together."

On a good year, the Stockholm Art Fair draws more than 5,000 visitors - keep in mind the population of town is 89.

"The turn-out is very much based on weather," Day added.

Committed to keeping the fair within the limits of Village Park, Day said organizers have resorted to jurying interested artists. "Over the years more people wanted to be a part of the show, so we had to have a balance of art mediums. There had to be an evenness of what people want to see."

Whether this will be your first year or 30th year attending the event, the art fair offers an eclectic variety of entertainment.

Roughly 105 artists from five states will show and sell paintings, jewelry, clay, glass, sculpture, fiber, leather and photography. Live music and other entertainment is planned. The Lake Pepin Art and Design Center is offering some children's activities.

Strolling through the booths can work up an appetite - so look for creative food vendors scattered throughout the area.

Parking for the fair is available in Stockholm. From Red Wing, drive south on State Highway 35 and turn left on Elm Street in Stockholm. You will be directed to a large area for parking, within walking distance to the park and there will also be a shuttle bus in continuous operation for the entire fair.

For a complete list of the artisans showcasing their work, check out the fair's website

Live music schedule

Amanda Rundquist

Performs acoustic music with various edges

When: 10 a.m.

From: Stockholm, Wis.

More info:

Billy Krause

You will always hear something unexpected that will expand your musical horizons

When: 11 a.m.

From: Eau Claire, Wis.


Nationally touring, award-winning duo - where folk meets flamenco

When: 12 p.m.

From: Maiden Rock

More info:

Yata, Healey & Orfield

Soulful folk-rock, vocal vibe originals with sax

When: 1:30 p.m.

From: Durand, Eau Claire and Arkansaw, Wis.

More info:

Ditch Lilies

Acoustic, multi-instrumental American Roots duo

When: 3 p.m.

From: Maiden Rock

More info:


Mythical folk group

When: 4:15 p.m.

From: Western Wisconsin

Stacy Bengs-Silverberg

Stacy Bengs has been a photojournalist at the Red Wing Republican Eagle since 2010. She holds a bachelors degree in journalism and art from the University of Minnesota.

(651) 301-7880