ALPENA — It’s going to be a big weekend for Alpena.
In addition to the Michigan Brown Trout Festival kickoff, as well as the Festival of Sail and World’s Largest Rubber Duck, the 45th Annual Art on the Bay will be held Saturday and Sunday at Bay View Park.
Vendors are excited to get back to “normal” after the COVID-19 pandemic shut down their business for nearly two years.
All 150 booths are booked, with a waiting list, according to Clint Kendziorski, Thunder Bay Arts Council first vice president. He said some of the roughly 110 vendors are using two booth spaces to display their fine arts and handcrafted items.
The show will be from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday.
“We bring in approximately 3,000 people over the weekend,” Kendziorski said, adding that onsite food concessions and live music will be offered.
Fine arts and crafts in a plethora of mediums will be available for sale in this juried art show. Each vendor had to send photos and a description of their work in to the Thunder Bay Arts Council to be juried into the show, Kendziorski said.
Erik Johnson, of Spruce, will be participating in Art on the Bay for the first time. He owns Svede’s, and makes natural organic bath and body products, including solid lotion, balms, soaps, lip balm, and more.
“I do everything I can to use organic or natural ingredients,” said Johnson, who started making his products three years ago.
He had dry, cracked hands and needed something that worked to take care of them. So he decided to make his own remedy, starting with the hard lotion bar.
“The first time I made it, I was just using shea butter, and then I accidentally ordered organic shea butter, and the difference between the two is just night and day,” Johnson said, noting that the organic ingredients are a much higher quality. “So, I just decided then that I was going to start using the organic ingredients.”
Since using the hard lotion bar, he has had no more issues with hand cracking and splitting.
“I’m a mailman, and in the winter, my hands would split to no end, and I hate greasy liquid lotion, so I decided to make a lotion bar, because then it’s just concentrated — there’s no water or alcohol in it,” Johnson said. “I’m big into herbs, and I know the power of comfrey. Comfrey is really good on your skin.”
He said since comfrey aids in recovery, he added it to the lotion bar.
“Three years running, and I haven’t had a split in my hands yet,” he said.
Johnson and his cohort Kaylee Almas are glad to be a part of Art on the Bay this weekend.
“We are really excited to do Art on the Bay,” Johnson said. “This is our home base, and we’re excited to do it.”
He said especially after the pandemic and various supply chain issues, he is probably not the only vendor who is happy to get back out there.
Cheryl “Trouble” Carey, of Fairgrove, Mich., will be selling her stained glass items. She has been coming to Art on the Bay for nearly 15 years. She said it’s a very friendly and welcoming atmosphere, well-organized, and always ends up being a profitable show for her.
She got her nickname, “Trouble,” at a fine arts show in Tawas, and it stuck.
“I got a reputation that I’m trouble,” she said with a laugh. “Not in a bad way; in a humorous type of fashion … more like fun trouble.”
She’s been creating stained glass suncatchers, spinners, lamps, and hanging decor for nearly 30 years.
“As the Lord would have it work, I needed to keep my hands moving,” Carey said, explaining that she developed rheumatoid arthritis.
“It’s in my hands, and in my feet,” she said. “But I wouldn’t be doing it if I didn’t know I was doing quality work … I don’t know how much longer I’ll be doing it, but, there again, as the Lord allows, I’ll do it.”
Carey enjoys the shows, and interacting with people who are admiring her artwork. She keeps coming back to Art on the Bay because it’s fun and profitable.
“I like Alpena,” she said. “They usually do have a good turnout, as far as vendors, so that will be a good show … I usually do quite well there, and the camaraderie of the vendors is real good.”
Warren and Barbara Geiger own Geiger Rugs and More. The couple, out of Harbor Beach, Mich., has been coming to Art on the Bay for 10 years. They have been making rugs for 20 years, and are inching toward retirement, but they still have 2,100 rugs and placemats to sell before they call it quits. They have enjoyed making the cotton rugs using looms, and selling them at craft shows.
“We’d like to move as many of them as possible,” Warren Geiger said of the rugs and placemats, adding that they will be discounted at the show.
Over the past two decades, Warren said he has made 14,000 rugs, using cotton remnants from mills, mostly from Pennsylvania.
They got started in the craft when Warren Geiger’s sister had been making rugs on a loom for a couple of years.
“My wife mentioned to me that she thought it was a good idea,” he said. “I thought she was nuts. Until I got a loom and tried it.”
It’s a good business.
“It’s a lot of work, but the work does pay off,” Geiger said. “It made us money.”
They like coming to Art on the Bay.
“It’s been a real good show for us,” Geiger said of Art on the Bay. “We keep going back to the ones that are good.”