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Posted on Fri, Jul 22, 2011 : 1:22 p.m.

They love it, they hate it, they're hot: What people are saying about the Ann Arbor Art Fair

By Jen Eyer

Jen Eyer is the Director of Audience Engagement for Reach her at or 623-2577. This story was assembled using the digital scrapbooking tool Storify.


David Briegel

Sat, Jul 23, 2011 : 3:25 a.m.

For goodness sake. Townie is derived from the phrase "town and gown" which represents the divide between the U and the locals. This "Townie Party" refers to the Art Fair folks treating us "townies" to a little party before our quaint little burg is invaded by their hordes. There is a large "Townie Christmas Party" that is just us locals of a certain age who sponsor the party and invite our friends. My grandparents and succeeding generations were all born here and we are proud to be called Townies.


Sat, Jul 23, 2011 : 1:25 a.m.

Friday night was not crowded and the weather was relatively pleasant. Artists I talked to said the fair was a disappointment in terms of sales and low turnout. Food was overpriced as usual, with prices not posted in a readable way, which tells you something. What are they hiding? Some food vendors posted no prices at all (NY Pizza Depot is one example), and then as I was deciding to whether to buy a slice of pizza, the woman sprayed windex cleaner on the top of the glass counter right over the pizza slices! I left without buying any of the sprayed pizza. I resent places that do not post their prices so they can be seen from a distance. Some by the Union had tiny signs hanging with tiny lettering. Others had no prices listed at all. There needs to be policy that is enforced about prices posted in all food booths and posted so they are readable while walking by. No one should have to ask how much things are, which is what goes on in third world countries in street markets, where they make up prices depending on how you look to them (well-dressed= higher prices).

David Briegel

Sat, Jul 23, 2011 : 3:29 a.m.

I detest any and all spraying and sweeping that sends stuff flying through the air and polluting my environment. I walk right out! That does nothing to make the food more appetizing. If you can't clean up without those methods you are doing it all wrong!


Sat, Jul 23, 2011 : 2:34 a.m.

Well, at least Oasis posted Art Fair prices... after covering up their signboard with trash bags. So frustrating. I work here - I don't want to pay the inflated prices to continue to give the restaurants my business. I opted to not spend my money there this week and I will seriously consider going everywhere else in the future!

Alan Caldwell

Sat, Jul 23, 2011 : 1:05 a.m.

I went to grad school at UM in the mid 80s, and have lived in Ann Arbor since 1995. My growing impression is that many people in this town think whining and complaining are admirable qualities. I love the art fair, and it's really good for this town! It brings people to see our neat little city, and I enjoy having them!


Sat, Jul 23, 2011 : 9:14 a.m.

Yeah, it was a "neat little city" back when the population was well under 100,000 and you could park anywhere downtown... My family's been here since the 50's! Never been to a "Townie" party as they seem full of people who "wish" they grew up here!


Sat, Jul 23, 2011 : 2:14 a.m.

Ohhh, I forgot! "... our neat little city,"?! Probably should take-off those rose-colored glasses, too!


Sat, Jul 23, 2011 : 2:06 a.m.

'95?!?! Barely enough time here to settle in! You would be a transplant. To be a local requires several generations of at least one side of your family having resided in A2. Then you can whine and complain about whatever you want, because by that time you will have acquired the "I am sooooooo over Ann Arbor" gene from at least one of your predecessors.


Fri, Jul 22, 2011 : 8:12 p.m.

It is possible that the Art Fair(s) is too big. Maybe the three (is that the right number?) fairs could be spread further apart with some sort of trolley running in between if the walkers are daunted by a greater distance. Traffic might not be impacted so heavily with more routes through town and one could exit the congestion more frequently. In the old days, before the outdoor food was available, restaurants did well. Granted there were long waits for tables and there was obviously some need for quicker food. Now I don't think that the local businesses benefit, at least not the ones right in the thick of it. I love supporting art and artists and there are many ways to do that. Given the impact on Ann Arbor, I would hope that the business community gains from the Art Fair phenomenon. I don't know all the politics involved.

Bertha Venation

Fri, Jul 22, 2011 : 4:47 p.m.

Born n' raised here, but the word "Townie" doesn't sound too flattering.

working poor @ u of m

Fri, Jul 22, 2011 : 4:30 p.m.

I think the term "townie" refers to the transplants and hangers-on from the university. I am an Ann Arborite of 50 years. None of my fellow Ann Arborites go to the "Townie Party"...... it's just for the "townies".

Cat Novak

Fri, Jul 22, 2011 : 3:59 p.m.

Often not my taste, sometimes very hot or very rainy (not this year yet)...but I'm always looking forward to it. It's joyous, I always meet people I know. Parking? Every year I find convenient spots (without using the parking structures). Just need to walk for 4 or 5 blocks. Come on, it's not that. See you there.

Tarun Gehani

Fri, Jul 22, 2011 : 3:49 p.m.

There's some great local music on the iSPY Stage (on Liberty in b/w Main & Ashley) next to the food courts.. yes, it's hot, but I think free local music is what keeps me coming back to the Art Fair each year.

Original Ann Arborite

Fri, Jul 22, 2011 : 1:56 p.m.

yeah I have 2 agree, that 'Townie' name is ridiculous. Born and raised in A2, I have never been referred 2 as a 'Townie' lolol And further more, my family and the ppl I grew up with r not familiar with 'Townie'. Aaaaaaand most of the REAL Ann Arborites don't even know about this yearly 'Townie' celebration b4 the art fair. Now, I have 2 admit I do go 2 the art fair for some of my girly needs lololol So, I might have played a part in a few "clearance clothing catfights" ;-) Someone from the Art Fair needs 2 contact me and I will show them how 2 give an event that ALL Ann Arborites will appreciate!


Fri, Jul 22, 2011 : 1:23 p.m.

Fun article! I love the BINGO. Hot or not, I'm still enjoying the art fair!

Jon Wax

Fri, Jul 22, 2011 : 12:32 p.m.

who came up with this "townie" label? been here for decades and nobody uses that term. We are "locals". Not townies. Whoever came up with that weak title musta moved here in the last 5 years or so. And all the locals know better then to go down town during the art fair. Crowds of slow moving gaukers in 90 degree weather? uh yeah... only a townie would enjoy that. a local knows better... Peace

Macabre Sunset

Fri, Jul 22, 2011 : 6:34 p.m.

I was hearing the term back in the '70s. At the time, it referred to a resident of Ann Arbor who had no connection with the University.