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Art fair returns to Palmer Park after 30 years

Whitmore and Alwyne

Whitmore and Alwyne

In 1893, U.S. Thomas Witherell Palmer donated 140 acres of virgin forest to the city of Detroit on the condition that it be preserved. Today that forest virgin remains on of the city’s jewels — Palmer Park. Surrounded by the beautiful art deco buildings comprising the Palmer Park Apartment Building Historic District — listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the park is home to a golf course, a splash park, the Detroit’s Police Department’s five-horse mounted unit, and a log cabin, the former summer home of Senator Palmer and his family.

Now for the first time in 30 years, the park will once more host the Palmer Park Art Fair, May 3 and 4. Organizers say they want the fair to be different, avoiding rows of white tents in favor of dynamic installations and displays that more accurately represent of the aesthetic of the artists on display within.

Dozens of local and national artists, jewelry makers, and craftspersons, including Donald Calloway and Heidelberg resident Tim Burke, will have their work on display and for sale. In addition, there will be a number of demonstrations of glass-blowing, metal casting and mural painting, and art activities designed for children. Fair attendees will also be able to buy food and locally-brewed beer to accompany their stroll beneath the boughs and among the canvases.

On May 3 at 7 p.m., the People for Palmer Park and Integrity Shows are throwing a gala featuring a performance by Detroit blues legend Thornetta Davis. Tickets are $75 and include food and drinks.

Organizers plan to make the fair an annual event that honors the history of the park and the city, while planning for the future of both, writing on their website, “This art fair is dedicated to those who have stayed, those who have always loved the city, and those who are working to re-imagine our future.”

Palmer Park is located on the west side of Woodward Avenue between McNichols and Seven Mile Road in Detroit. Admission to the fair —10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday and noon to 5 p.m. on Sunday — is free. For more information about the fair or to volunteer, visit

— Staff report

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