Lake Forest’s 60th annual Art Fair on Square Sunday, Monday

Linda Blaser
lblaser@pioneerlocal.com | @LindaJBlaser
Aug. 26 1:14 p.m.

Art Fair on the Square

When: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday and Monday, Aug. 31 & Sept. 1

Where: Market Square, Lake Forest

Admission: Free

Featuring: 180 juried artists; young artists; emerging artists; Creation Station; interactive children’s art tent

Details: deerpathartleague.org, 847-234-3743

Labor Day weekend just wouldn’t be the same without the Art Fair on the Square — especially for Lars Birger-Sponberg, who has shown his oil paintings at the Lake Forest fair for more than 50 years.

“It’s just understood that Labor Day weekend we have an art fair,” Birger-Sponberg said.

His wife, Dallas, will be there, too, in the booth they’ve long occupied on the southeast corner of Market Square for this year’s 60th Annual Art Fair on the Square, which will be held from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday, Aug. 31, and Monday, Sept. 1.

“When it first started, it was a smaller fair,” Birger-Sponberg said. “It was kind of a nice autumn ‘homecoming’ thing.”

Over the decades the Deer Path Art League’s biggest annual event “grew and grew and grew,” he said. “Not only has it become larger, it’s become better.”

Today, the juried show features 180 artists selected from a pool of more than 500 national and international applicants. The work of young and emerging artists is highlighted, and the youngest fair-goers can discover their inner artist at the Creation Station.

Struck by the professionalism of last year’s show and the downtown Lake Forest setting, professional glass artist James Wilbat of Deerfield decided to apply this year to bring his work to Lake Forest and was accepted. Wilbat is among some 30 new artists who will showcase their art.

“I was impressed,” Wilbat said of last year’s fair.

A glass blower for more than 35 years, Wilbat has participated in art shows nationally and hopes to draw new clients from his neighboring communities.

At his booth, fair-goers will see a wide range of pieces, from small paperweights to large sculptures.

They’ll also find Wilbat a ready teacher and guide to his art form.

“What I do is relationship building with people,” he said. “I talk to them, invite them up to the studio (in Mundelein). I’ve built my business on educating the public in my style and technique.”

Volunteers are still needed to help artists set-up, take down and man their booths to allow them short breaks during the fair.

“The artists usually need help setting up their booths and we can’t always get to everyone so its always nice to have extra volunteers,” Jillian Chapman, fair co-chairman, said.

At 95, Birger-Sponberg appreciates help setting up his oil paintings, which this year focus on Midwest landscapes.

Doing the fair for so long, Birger-Sponberg has his routine down pat.

“I try to be there at 7 a.m. and hopefully there’s somebody there to help me,” he said.

Once the fair opens, Birger-Sponberg expects to see a lot of familiar faces.

“I have customers that are friends and friends that are customers,” he said. “They come, if not to buy, to visit and look at my new work.”

For more information about this year’s Art Fair on the Square, go to www.deerpathartleague.org or call 847-234-3743.

Art Fair on the Square

When: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday and Monday, Aug. 31 & Sept. 1

Where: Market Square, Lake Forest

Admission: Free

Featuring: 180 juried artists; young artists; emerging artists; Creation Station; interactive children’s art tent

Details: deerpathartleague.org, 847-234-3743

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