by Dennis Dalman
Many thousands of people gathered for the ever-popular annual Rice Arts and Crafts Fair Sept. 12 and 13 in downtown Rice.
The fair, which featured more than 70 exhibitors in their white tents, was set up just west of Hwy. 10 and on both sides of Rice’s Main Street. Its coordinator is Mark Larson and his son, Nathan, of the Old Creamery Restaurant and Café in Rice, and many of the tents were set up on the grounds near that establishment.
People of all ages, including many families, enjoyed sauntering the grounds in warm – but not hot – weather, munching on treats, socializing in groups and perusing a staggering variety of arts and crafts, including oil and acrylic paintings, wooden carvings, jewelry, jams and scented oils and waxes, knick knacks of every description, homemade utensils, bath towels and dish towels, homemade sweatshirts and other clothing items, handcrafted furniture and metal works, and more – much more. The aroma of kettle corn wafted through the long aisles between the white tents. On the west end there was the tantalizing smell of barbecued pork chops cooked and served by the Rice Boy Scouts. The St. Stephen Lions served up refreshing cups of ice cream.
One exhibitor who attracted attention with her unusual, whimsical acrylic paintings was Dawn Addy whose “Party Animals By Dawn” booth featured her art works of pets, some of them depicting cats and dogs as “party animals” drinking champagne, beer or whisky, getting a bit loopy and a couple even looking cross-eyed and baying at the moon. Addy, who was working her exhibit with daughter Alison Legatt of St. Stephen, said her customers give her photos of their pets, and her wild fun-loving imagination takes over from there. Addy, who earned a master’s degree from the Minnesota School of Art and Design, lives in Minnesota in the summer months but winters in Miami, where she does most of her pet paintings.
“I enjoyed a fulfilling career trying to save the world,” Addy said, “and now I have passed the torch to others. I am moving into the next phase of my journey, following my artistic passions.”
During the two-day fair, mothers stopped to feed their children, teenagers sauntered by in casual groups and senior citizens took time to talk with the many exhibitors about their wares. A good time was had by one and all.