Maker Fair Minnesota returns to the Nicollet County Fairgrounds in St. Peter this weekend for the 12th year, and organizers say it will be bigger and better.
The event, which features the handcrafted work and food of artisans, has grown significantly over the years. The first event included just 20 vendors and attracted about 200 attendees. That number has since grown to 190 vendors and 5,000 attendees.
Items for sale at Maker Fair Minnesota include: sewn and baked goods, iron, metal and wood work, craft items, home decor and more.
“There is something there for everybody, and if they can’t find anything, they aren’t looking hard enough,” said organizer Karen Dirkx.
Maker Fair Minnesota vendors are required to sell homemade items only, meaning no mass-produced goods are allowed. The fair also requires artisans to be present.
“It promotes customer interaction and allows our vendors to tell the customers how their product is made,” said organizer Scott Dirkx.
For the kids, the event includes a pumpkin hunt, which begins in the fairgrounds’ Johnson Hall. Kids search through buildings for a pumpkin and get a card punched for each one they find. Once they have all four stamps, they get a goodie bag.
Before the Dirkx family got involved, the event initially was in Vernon Center and Garden City. When the original organizer moved away, Karen Dirkx decided that she, as a vendor, could step in and continue and perhaps improve the fair. At that time, there were just a few vendors left.
The Dirkxes added the word “Minnesota” to the event’s name and moved it to the Nicollet County Fairgrounds, where there was more room for vendors and parking.
They’ve attracted exhibitors by word of mouth. Business has been so good lately that they’ve had to turn vendors away. This year alone, they said, 50 who wanted to be a part of the fair were denied; there just wasn’t enough room for them.
“We’ll get phone calls, and they’ll say, ‘I was standing next to someone, and they said your event is amazing and that we should vend there,’” Scott Dirkx said. “We just don’t have the room to add more vendors, and we’ve just decided that we’re not going to get any larger because it’s the right size for us.”
On-site parking is $5. Attendees who don’t park at the event pay an entrance fee of $1.
It is a cash-only event; an ATM is available.
Head to https://makerfairmn.com/ for more information or visit their Facebook page.
If You Go What: Maker Fair Minnesota When: 9 a.m. — 4 p.m. Saturday Where: Nicollet County Fairgrounds, St. Peter Cost: $5 for admission with on-site parking, $1 for non-parking admission