Mayfaire-By-The-Lake is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year. Lakeland’s premiere outdoor, juried, fine arts festival is free to attend and organized by the Polk Museum of Art. It will be held from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on May 7 and 8, the same weekend as Mother’s Day, at Lake Morton in downtown Lakeland.
This year, there will be 160 artist booths featuring a wide variety of art for sale, including sculpture, photography, jewelry and painting.
What’s New This Year
There are several new things happening during the 2022 art show, including a kids-only tent and a Mayfaire exhibition in the upstairs gallery of the Polk Museum of Art that will feature past award-winning Mayfaire artists’ works.
“We are so excited to be celebrating Mayfaire’s 50th anniversary this year. It is remarkable that Mayfaire has been a staple of Mother’s Day weekend for a half-century, and this year we are going all out,” said Alex Rich, executive director of the Polk Museum of Art.
Artists are coming from all over, including as far away as Ontario, Canada. Stateside the artists represent 12 states, according to event organizers.
Check a gallery of works by the artists. Each piece links to information about the artist.
Featured Artist and Poster
Drawing and Graphics artist Mike Williams of St. Petersburg is the featured artist this year. He has been participating in Mayfaire for more than 10 years. His career began as a carpenter, building homes near Lake Erie. From there, he followed his passion of drawing, selling renderings of summer cottages and boats to people visiting Lake Erie on vacation. Later, he opened a gallery on Catawba Island, and then moved to Florida to further pursue his art career.
“His work appealed to us because we were looking for a nostalgic feel to represent Mayfaire’s past,” said Mayfaire-By-The-Lake coordinator Joy Williams.
Here is Williams’ poster for Mayfaire 2022:
The Mayfaire judge this year is Jayne Wilkinson from Toronto, Canada. She is a writer, editor and independent curator. She is the former editor-in-chief at Canadian Art, Canada’s most widely read contemporary art magazine, according to Mayfaire’s website.
She critiques art for publications including Artforum, C Magazine, Momus, esse, and Inuit Art Quarterly. She’s currently a lecturer for Art History at McMaster University and in visual studies at the University of Toronto.
If you can’t find parking on the side streets near Lake Morton, parking is available at Florida Southern College on Frank Lloyd Wright Way. Shuttles will pick up guests and take them to the festival. Directions to the festival from Tampa and Orlando can be found on the festival’s website.
New this year, two eight-passenger golf carts operated by the Citrus Connection transit service will shuttle festival-goers from downtown parking lots to the Mayfaire site. The shuttles will operate from 8:45 a.m to 4 p.m. both days of the festival.
Visitors can use this downloadable map to find exhibitor tents, food trucks and restrooms:
Organizers encourage attendees to support the food trucks on site, as the festival receives a percentage of their proceeds. The trucks can be found throughout the show. The festival partners with Tampa Bay Food Truck Rally to curate food selections.
Organizers encourage guests to walk around the lake and view all of the artwork. If you need assistance, the Mayferrys will be back this year to cart you around; however there won’t be as many as in previous years. There will also be two wheelchair-accessible golf carts for anyone in a wheelchair who needs them. The event is also stroller friendly.
The Kids Zone will be in front of First United Methodist Church. There will be kids’ crafts, face painting, a magician, stilt walker and kid-friendly food vendors.
“We are very excited to announce a new program called Kids Collect. This is going to be a kids-only tent where they can go in and purchase artwork that our Mayfaire Artists have donated,” Williams said.
Williams said the prices for the artwork in this new program will vary from $5 to $20. Proceeds will go toward the Summer Camp Scholarship program at the Polk Museum of Art.
Performances take place on the the Library lawn all weekend. Among the performers: Samira Belly Dance, Mrs. Murphy’s Chowder, Putri Mandalika Indonesia Dance Club, Miss Lakeland Lindsey Franxman of Winter Garden, FrediDANCE Project, Sage Koury, Nanette Boyer Ballet Studio, and All Saints’ Academy Thespian Troupe. See the schedule.
50th Anniversary Special Exhibition
Past Mayfaire posters will be on display in the lobby of the museum. The museum purchased artwork from previous Mayfaire award winners, and their work will be displayed in a permanent collection in the upstairs Murray/Ledger gallery of the museum.
“Mayfaire 2022 is poised to be the best Mayfaire in memory. As it is our 50th anniversary, we are in an especially celebratory mood,” Dr. Rich said. “Mayfaire 2022 looks forward and backward at the same time. We want to reflect on the festival’s history while also looking forward to its future. For the first time, we are featuring a special exhibition at the museum in commemoration of Mayfaire’s half-century anniversary.”
The Lakeland Runners Club is hosting its 43rd Annual Mayfaire 5K on May 7. The run will begin at 7 p.m. near Lake Mirror and end on the Francis Langford Promenade. Click here to register or volunteer. Registration closes May 4.
People are discouraged from bringing pets as the pavement is very hot and not a good environment for them, according to organizers.
There will not be a virtual Mayfaire this year and the festival will operate as normal.
“If something changes related to COVID, we will adjust accordingly,” Williams said.
There will be hand washing stations at the restroom facilities.