In addition to the museum celebrating its 50th anniversary later this year, May marks the 45th anniversary of Mayfaire by-the-Lake, which is held along the shores of Lake Morton on Mother’s Day weekend each year.
Sunshine Artist magazine ranked this fine arts show 55th out of the top 200 art shows in the country in 2015.
This signature event is one of the museum’s oldest traditions, and it has come a long way since its debut as a crafts fair in 1972 on the front lawn of the Lakeland Public Library. Mayfaire grew the following year when Polk County art teachers got involved.
Here’s an interesting fact about Mayfaire’s milestone anniversary: although the art show began in 1972, there have been only 43 art shows; not 45. That’s because organizers didn’t hold the event in 1974, and it got canceled in 1977.
The art show returned in 1978 with its new name, which continues to be used today: Mayfaire By-the-Lake. Under Muffy Davidson’s leadership, 60 craftsmen participated in Mayfaire that year.
Today, Mayfaire’s official name is MIDFLORIDA Mayfaire By-the-Lake in recognition of the event’s signature sponsor, MIDFLORIDA Credit Union. This juried art show attracts about 165 artists from across the country who sell a variety of art, from jewelers and clay artists, to painters and sculptors. There truly is something for everyone.
Mayfaire also features talent by organizations throughout Polk County with live performances throughout the weekend, food vendors, a hands-on children’s art tent and a kids zone that includes activities such as bounce houses and a rock climbing wall. Included during the weekend of activities is Mayfaire Saturday Night, a free concert at the Frances Langford Promenade at Lake Mirror, as well as the MIDFLORIDA Mayfaire 5K Road Race presented annually by the Lakeland Runners Club.
Mayfaire 2016 is May 7-8, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily. Visit www.polkmuseumofart.org for more information.