DAVENPORT — For hundreds of Quad-Citians, it just isn't Mother's Day without a trip to the spring Beaux Arts Fair.
Saturday's and Sunday's fair offered the opportunity for family and friends to celebrate while supporting artists from all over the region and beyond — two things the Baker family, from Davenport, was happy to do Sunday at the 66th annual fair.
Amid a crowd of artists, colorful paintings and photography, eclectic jewelry and glasswork, shoppers and food trucks, the family said attending the fair is an annual Mother's Day tradition.
Erin Baker and her daughters McKayla Baker, 20, and Megan Jackson, 25, have hit up the fair on Mother's Day weekend every year for years — “Probably since I was their age (when) I came with my mom,” Erin said.
This year's spring fair was moved from the Bechtel Plaza at the Figge Art Museum to the Mississippi Valley Fairgrounds, far away from floodwaters and related road closures in downtown Davenport. Once the Baker ladies had scouted out the fair's new location and made sure it was all on pavement, they planned to go get Erin's mom, Susan O'Brien, to join in on the fun, too.
The art itself is a huge draw, the women said. But so is the time together.
“I personally love just seeing all the different arts,” McKayla said. “I go to Iowa State, so I'm into the design aspects of everything.”
Her sister agreed. “I just like supporting local artists and the artists in general,” she said. The artists' pieces are things “you don't see in stores,” she said, adding that she had picked up either an anniversary or a Father's Day gift Sunday morning.
Attending the fair on Mother's Day made the day more special.
“It's just a great way to spend time together and just talk without having that pressure of what to talk about, and spend time together,” Erin said.
The women said they sometimes attend Beaux Arts' fall fair, too, which always is held the weekend after Labor Day.
But “Mother's Day?" Erin said. "We always go.”
The Dietz family also has made attending the fair a Mother's Day tradition.
“We just love coming to the Beaux Arts. It's one of the best shows here in town,” said Sherri Dietz, of Walcott, who was attending the fair with her husband, Rod, and daughter, Molly DeRoo, of Davenport.
Dietz said she had been attending the fair annually for about 33 years.
“Since I was little,” DeRoo said.
“I like doing crafts and arts, and so I like to see what other vendors are doing and support them,” Dietz said.
DeRoo agreed. “I got dragged when I was little, so I always loved it. I love seeing all the art and jewelry and stuff.”
The two said they typically attended the fair held in the fall, too, as they were nice, family-friendly events.
The offerings are different with each fair, Dietz said. “People put their heart and soul into what they make.”
Beaux Arts Fair Committee president Pat Halverson and vice president Chris Sederstrom said the organization was very grateful for the folks at the Mississippi Valley Fair who opened its grounds for the fair's “spontaneous move.” The two also were very happy about the turnout.
“Our patrons are … very loyal,” Sederstrom said. The fair is “a Mother's Day tradition, and (people) will come regardless if they're, you know, dragging their umbrellas or, today, we're wearing L.L.Bean parkas.”
There were just over 100 booths on hand on a cement area on the Mississippi Valley Fairgrounds. Hundreds of people of all ages and a handful of pups wandered in and out of each booth, admiring everything from delicate wind chimes and yard décor to wood carvings, jewelry and photography.
“With the fair being free admission, it's ... for people to appreciate all different, you know, forms of art,” Sederstrom said. “It's more like a little eye feast ... for children, adults, whoever. ... It's wonderful.”