After a light morning rain, the sun began to poke out just as the renamed Riverfront Art Fair began late Saturday morning.
The annual festival was divided into two areas. A section of Washington Street was closed off for fine arts displays and live music while food and craft vendors set up across the street in The Hub food truck lot.
Pegeen Rozeske, a custom leather worker from New Ulm, was attaching the leather soles to a pair of cowboy boots.
“I make them all from scratch. I got this design from a historical boot from the 1700s.”
The tall boots protect horse riders’ legs, but when they get off the horse, the tops of the tall boots fold down to a normal cowboy boot height.
The thick leather soles are attached with small wooden pegs that Rozeske hammers in around the edges of the sole and heel.
Rozeske, who is part of the Mankato Makerspace, has been doing the custom work since 2003. She makes a variety of shoes and boots but favors cowboy boots as she rides horses and is involved in historic reenactments.
Next door to Rozeske, Caleb Stoner was heating up the blade of a long knife and pounding it on an anvil. Also a member of Makerspace, he tinkers with a variety of steel items.
“I do a little of everything. Making weaponry is always fun,” he said, showing the various daggers, spears and knives he’s made.
Linda Tietz, of Vernon Center, had her craft tent set up in The Hub, selling her wide variety of handmade items, including earrings, rings, body scrubs and a variety of sewn products.
“I’m part of the River Valley Makers group. It’s great to be around a lot of different crafters.”
Tietz hopes to soon open her own Linda Decor & More shop in Amboy.
While the art fair has been around for a decade, it is sporting a new name. Formerly the Old Town Art Fair, organizers this year had to change it to Riverfront Art Fair after a letter arrived from Chicago’s Old Town Art Fair.
That group has a 72-year history and they also have legal dibs on the name Old Town Art Fair. Chicago’s event organizers sent a cease and desist order to the Mankato fair organizers, telling them they’d have to rename the Mankato event.
Created by the Coffee Hag, the art festival is now operated by the Old Town Association.