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This weekend’s art festival triple-play: Loring Park, Uptown, Powderhorn Park

Arts lovers, cross your fingers that clear skies persist over the coming days, because this is one of the biggest weekends of the year for metro area festivals. In addition to the ever-popular Fringe Festival, Minneapolis will also host its three most popular late summer art fairs: in Loring Park, Uptown and Powderhorn Park. As it has in previous years, Metro Transit will be providing free Art Hop shuttles between these art festivals throughout the weekend, so you can easily see them all if you like.

Here’s what you need to know about each of these art fairs:

Uptown Art Fair, August 6-8: Billed as the largest art fair in the state, Uptown’s annual extravaganza is slick and internationally regarded. It attracts upwards of 350,000 people every year, and will feature work by more than 360 professional artists from around the world, working in 12 artistic media. In addition, the fair promises nonstop performances, hands-on kids’ activities at the “Family Imagination Station, scads of food vendors, a local celebrity art auction, and more.

If you find the crush of humanity at the State Fair exhilarating, this is the art festival for you. With all the family events, performances, and corporate-sponsored hoopla on the side, this sprawling, well-promoted annual fair is to art what the Taste of Minnesota is to local food.

The Uptown Art Fair is Friday, noon to 8 p.m.; Saturday, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.; Sunday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. The Uptown Art Fair is located at the intersection of Lake Street and Hennepin Avenue and along “The Mall” in Minneapolis.

Loring Park Art Festival, Aug. 7-8: Among this weekend’s line-up of fairs, Loring Park’s festival appeals to the purist. While it’s undoubtedly a broadly engaging event, with plenty of entertainment options and the usual big-festival amenities, the focus here is really on seeing the work of local artists.

The organizers of Loring Park’s festival have always been motivated by a desire both to showcase area talent and to build a broader base of collectors in the community. That means you’ll find a wide range of price points in the artwork represented, not to mention a rigorously juried batch of exhibiting artists. This year, more than 140 regional artists and craftspeople will show their wares: painting, photography, printmaking, handmade paper, wood, jewelry, sculpture, fiber, mixed media and glass.

The Loring Park Art Festival is Saturday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Sunday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. It is located near Oak Grove Street and Hennepin Avenue in Loring Park, across Hennepin from the Walker Art Center’s Sculpture Garden.

Powderhorn Art Fair, August 7-8: This annual neighborhood fair is a collaborative venture of the Powderhorn Park Neighborhood Association and the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board, and its welcoming, more intimate vibe is due, in large part, to the tight-knit south Minneapolis neighborhood from which it springs. This is an annual festival inextricably linked to its community: Proceeds from the art fair help fund park programs such as theatre arts, a computer lab, teen center, music recording studio, pottery studio and team sports.

You’ll browse through pieces reflecting work in variety of media, much of it made by neighborhood artists, exhibited in crisp, white tents set amid the lush greenery of Powderhorn Park. If you find the bigger festivals a little daunting — or maybe you’re just looking to while away a couple of sunny, Sunday afternoon hours — Powderhorn’s neighborhood art fair is the right-sized destination for you.

The Powderhorn Art Fair is Saturday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Sunday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and sprawls across the 66 acres of Powderhorn Park in south Minneapolis. The park is between Chicago Avenue and Bloomington Avenue, and between East Lake Street and East 35th Street.

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