Clear blue, sunny skies, with temperatures in the mid-70’s, and a light breeze off Lake Superior in the northern Minnesota city of Duluth — the artists at the Glensheen Festival of Fine Art and Craft could not have asked for a better day to kick off the 18th annual weekend event. The festival takes place on the grounds of the historic Congdon estate, which is situated on over seven acres fronting Lake Superior.
The estate’s 39 rooms still contain many of the original furnishings and decor which were present at the turn of the century. Touring the mansion in December, when it is decorated for Christmas and the holiday season, is particularly lovely. However, the gardens and grounds on a summer day like today are picturesque, with Lake Superior’s sparkling waters as the backdrop.
Paintings, jewelry, pottery, fiber arts, handmade soaps . . . and one of my cats’ favorite Minnesota art fair vendors, Marvelous Melissa! We came across Marvelous Melissa at another area art fair, and my cats soon endorsed the recycled wool stuffed cat beds and wool scrap catnip mice as their favorites. I also appreciate a small business that does good deeds by making a donation to the Duluth spay-neuter clinic, Northland Spay/Neuter, with each cat bed purchase.
The festival also features some classic crafts — including a blacksmith demonstration and a glassblower.
The estate originally included large vegetable gardens, and some of those gardens have been replicated as part of the estate’s ongoing operations. The vegetable gardens provided a quaint spot for one of the festival’s vendors, Simply Nuts.
The Glensheen Festival of Fine Art and Craft is a pleasant way to enjoy the grounds of the Congdon estate and pique your interest for a full tour or repeat visit. And, any time you can enjoy a glorious summer day by the shores of Lake Superior is a good one.