Tri States Public Radio Staff
45th Annual Event
Tue June 19, 2012
Thousands Show Up for Snake Alley Art Fair
The Snake Alley Art Fair in Burlington started 45 years ago with just a few people selling work. They hung their art on snow fence that was set up along what's been called the most crooked street in the world.
This year the fair drew around 100 artists who set up booths not just on Snake Alley but also on the adjacent Heritage Hill streets.
They were joined by musicians, food and drink vendors, and thousands of art lovers looking to connect with a painting or a piece of jewelry or some other work of art.
The types of art ran the gamut from oil paintings on feathers to instruments made from gourds to fishing lures.
“I was amazed they call me an artist now. I make fishing lures,” said John Wilkinson of Washington, Illinois. “But I'm like a little kid. A 69-year old little kid making fishing lures. It beats a real job, I'll tell ya that.”
Wilkinson said he's a woodworker and a fisherman so it made sense to start handcrafting lures. His wife paints them.
“They have nine coats of paint on them. It takes just a little more effort to go from nice to beautiful,” Wilkinson said.
The weather was a bit on the warm side but it beat the conditions from the night before. In fact, Art Fair Chair Pat Latty said organizers usually mark the spaces for artists on Saturday night but the strong storms forced a change in plans.
“We did it starting at four (Sunday) morning with a flashlight,” Latty said.
She said the fair also gave children a chance to create art. The free kids art activities included face painting, sidewalk chalk, and making paper wind sock fish.
Nearly 30 people served on the 2012 Snake Alley Art Fair Committee and many other volunteers assisted. The event is sponsored by the Art Guild of Burlington.