After a year off in 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic, the Little Falls Arts & Crafts Fair is ready to return this weekend for its 48th year.

Let me be clear, I'm not artsy or a crafter, and usually choose to avoid big crowds, but...

When I moved back to Minnesota in 2013, I heard a radio ad that went something like, "...don't miss the biggest arts fair west of the Mississippi..." I laughed and thought to myself, "Whatever."

And then I went. All I can say is OMG! My thought quickly changed to, "Damn, maybe it really is the biggest." It literally takes over all of downtown Little Falls, and more.

Photo by Simi Iluyomade on Unsplash
Photo by Simi Iluyomade on Unsplash
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The Little Falls Art Fair is held the first weekend after Labor Day, which means this year the event will be this Saturday 9/11 from 8:00 am to 6:00 pm, and this Sunday 9/12 from 9:00 am to 4:00 pm.

In addition the art fair itself, there's an auto show & swap meet, antiques & collectibles show, and added in 2005 -- the Market Place. Oh, don't forget the Man Cave Fair (yes, really). Put it all together and historic downtown Little Falls is transformed for the weekend.

We are so excited for 2021! We missed seeing all our vendors and shoppers in 2020. Expect more than 600 artisan, food and marketplace vendors at one of the largest arts and crafts fairs in the Midwest.

Photo by Ryan Snaadt on Unsplash
Photo by Ryan Snaadt on Unsplash

Take a Peek of the Art Fair in this Short Video

Here's a short video from the 2017 Little Falls Art Fair to give you a little taste of what it's all about, but honestly -- the video doesn't do it justice (because no video could). It's that good!

The Little Falls Arts & Crafts and Market Place Fairs is an award winning art fair.  In its 48th year, the Fair has grown to encompass other venues that complement the event. The Lone Eagle Auto Club has sponsored a Car Show & Swap Meet for nearly as long as the Arts & Crafts Fair.  The West Little Falls Antiques & Collectibles Fair started 13 years ago, the Market Place was added in 2005.

Two Days, Lots to See, Tons of People, and Plenty to Eat

The Little Falls Art Fair draws over 125,000 visitors over the two days, and features more than 600 artists, crafters, exhibitors & vendors -- including more than 50 food vendors. There's also free parking and free shuttle bus service.

In addition to the Art Fair vendors, the downtown business embrace and engage the visitors. Bars & restaurants with indoor and outdoor seating serve up delicious food & drink specials, and local businesses celebrate with sales and sidewalk specials.

Photo by KYLE CUT MEDIA on Unsplash
Photo by KYLE CUT MEDIA on Unsplash

It gets pretty crowed in and around downtown, and parking can be scarce near the Art Fair itself. Either plan on parking and walking a considerable distance, or take advantage of the free shuttle bus parking at the Morrison County Fairgrounds located at 15575 Hawthorn Road in Little Falls. Watch for signs on Highway 10 & 371.

My Ten Reasons Not to Miss the Little Falls Arts & Crafts Fair

  1. It's Not JUST an Arts & Crafts Fair: I'm not artsy or crafty, l and I tend to avoid big crowds, but the LFA&CF is my second favorite event of the year -- right behind the Minnesota State Fair on my list. There is so much cool stuff to see, could couldn't possibly see it all in one day.
  2. The Main Cave Fair: The name says it all. A walk across the Mississippi River bridge from downtown you find the 'man stuff.' I say that tongue-in-cheek, because I'm a man and I love the whole fair -- this area is created for the dudes. Hunting & fishing, guns, bikes, outdoor stuff, garage and man cave gear and more.
  3. Food & Drinks: In addition to 50 official arts & crafts fair vendors, the downtown Little Falls bars & restaurants go all-in this weekend. Grab a Bloody Mary, craft brew, or glass of wine and wander the booths.
  4. Free Admission and Parking: I mean, how would your charge 125,000 people to come into Little Falls -- so they don't. Parking is free too, but be ready to walk a bit. In the past I've parked in distant neighborhoods and hoofed it. Other options include free parking and the Morrison County Fairgrounds with free shuttle busses.
  5. The Lone Eagle Auto Club Car Show & Swap Meet: For nearly as long as the Arts & Crafts Fair has been around, the Car Show & Swap Meet have been going on. This year the event will be at the Morrison County Fairgrounds on Sunday 9/12 from 7-3. Admission is five bucks.
  6. The West Little Falls Antiques & Collectibles Fair: When you get to Little Falls on Arts Fair Weekend, it feels like you've been dropped in the middle of an awesome autumn festival (and you have). Don't miss the West Little Falls Antiques & Collectibles Fair across the river from downtown. This part of the fun is Sunday 9/12 from 9-4 in LeBourget Park.
  7. The City of Little Falls: I grew up in Fridley, lived in Minneapolis in my college years, moved on to Indiana, Florida, Montana, back to Indiana, back to Montana, and in 2012 returned to the homeland here in Minnesota. If I could adopt a town and call it my own -- Little Falls might very well end up being my choice.
  8. The Vibe: Just like being at the Minnesota State Fair, WE Fest, or the Renaissance Festival in Shakopee -- most people have a vacation or fun-day vibe going on, and so do the vendors. Minnesota nice + festival + tons of cool stuff = HAPPY.
  9. One-Of-A-Kind Finds: Amie and I continually find things that we have never seen before for the cabin, campsite, or home. "Oh, we totally need that 15-foot owl with windmill wings sculpted from metal to set up in the woods at the cabin!"
  10. Holiday Shopping Potential: Sure it's early, and especially when it comes to guys like me -- waaaay too early. But here's my pro tip: Put a list in your pocket with everyone who you need to buy for this season's name on the list. You will absolutely, guaranteed find something for everyone. Done, now go enjoy a cold one.
Photo by Anthony Cantin on Unsplash
Photo by Anthony Cantin on Unsplash

I know there's lots of words on this page, which can be hard for most of us to plow through, but the Little Falls arts & Crafts Fair is THAT good. And I know I said TEN things that are great about the event, but I want to add #11 (then I'll shut up).

If you're from the Saint Cloud area, on your way home from the Little Falls extravaganza, make a pit stop at the Old Creamery Cafe Arts & Crafts Show in Rice. It's no coincidence that it's the same weekend as the LF event. It's smaller. It's free. And It's 100% worth the stop. Didn't find what you were looking for in Little Falls (hard to believe), but maybe you'll find it in Rice.

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