Franklin gears up for Labor Day Round Up, art fair

Artists excited to return to Art in the Village

By: Erin McClary | Birmingham - Bloomfield Eagle | Published August 30, 2011

FRANKLIN — If you live in Franklin, you don’t have to look very far for something to do on Labor Day.

For the past 66 years, the Franklin Community Association has hosted a giant Round Up, anchored by a parade and complemented by tons of activities, raffles and auctions, pony rides and a petting zoo, carnival fare and more. And for the past 30 of those years, Art in the Village has ridden the coattails of Franklin’s Labor Day Round Up, bringing dozens of vendors to the Village Green and drawing art lovers from all over.

To top it all off, the Franklin Cider Mill also opens for the season Labor Day weekend.

Jane Polan, president of the Franklin Community Association, said the collaborative event makes for a great day for the entire family. This year’s Labor Day celebration is Sept. 5. The Round Up runs 10 a.m.-4 p.m., and the art fair runs 10 a.m.-5 p.m.

“This is our 31st year for the art fair and our 67th year for the Round Up,” she boasted. “It draws thousands of people to the village from the surrounding communities, and it’s enhanced by the fact that the cider mill opens that weekend, which draws thousands of people every weekend.”

The Franklin Community Association puts on both events, which take place in and around the Village Green, located off Franklin Road, between 13 Mile and 14 Mile roads.

Families can participate in games and the kids crafting tent and listen to live musical performances. The Round Up will also feature a bake sale. Admission to both the Round Up and Art in the Village is free.

The parade will feature animal rescue groups that will hang around afterwards for adoptions. New this year is a make-your-own cotton candy station, and the association is bringing back the sandwich and salad stand, which was introduced last year and proved to be a success. There will be a real racecar at the Round Up, said Polan, as well as the Lego Society of Southeast Michigan giant Lego village.

The Art in the Village takes place on the Village Green and the Round Up surrounds it. The Franklin Community Association takes advantage of all the surrounding property for the events, said Polan: the baseball field, gazebo and fire station. The parade runs along Franklin Road, in the heart of the village.

“You can’t miss it,” she said. “It’s a very pleasant, summer family celebration.”

The artists participating in Art in the Village agree. There are 80 on board for this year’s show, and at least 20 percent of them are new.

“We always have something new, as well as the favorites,” Polan added. “We get very positive feedback from the artists.”

Michigan Hot Glass sculpture artist John Fletcher first brought his work to Franklin’s Art in the Village last year, and he was pleased with the attendance. “Guests were interested in my work and made several purchases,” he said. “Jane runs a well-coordinated event, which has an excellent reputation — a plus since I’m still new in the art show circuit.”

Fletcher, who’s been following the art of glass blowing since the ’60s, picked up the hobby upon retirement in 2008. His first show was in Ann Arbor the following year.

“I have been showing my tile art at the Franklin Show for at least 25 years,” said artist Pat Custer Denison. “I enjoy the warm, friendly community spirit of the show and the generous response to my art over these years. I always have new pieces, and this year is no exception.”

New this year in Denison’s booth will be long-legged, moveable jazz dancers — made of wood, ceramic tile and wing nuts. Her 6-by-8-inch collectible tiles will be available as well.

“I am looking forward to seeing old friends and meeting new people,” she said.

Clay sculptor JoAnn Aquinto did the Franklin show for 10-12 years before going on a three-year hiatus. “I have missed doing the show so much,” she said. “I was a little lost on Labor Day as to what to do, so I am returning this year because I have always enjoyed the show and it is a great way to spend the day.”

Aquinto said she likes that it’s a smaller show, and added that it’s well-run and the people are very supportive.

“I love the parade and the cider and doughnuts,” she said. “I am looking forward to a very pleasant show.”

Basket weaving artist Karen Fenwick is also a returning vendor. This will be her fifth or sixth time showing in Franklin’s art fair.

“This is one of my favorite art fairs for many reasons: It’s a venue for the entire family with the parade, activities for the kids, the grand opening of the cider mill, and I’m in the company of lots of fine artists,” she said. “It’s also very nostalgic for me, as my husband and I brought our kids — now 35 and 32 years old — to the parade for years. One of our children now lives in Franklin with her husband and will be bringing our grandson for the first time to the festivities.”

Fenwick called the Franklin Round Up a “generational event,” and said she’s looking forward to being part of this year’s festivities again.

For more information about the Round Up or Art in the Village, call or email Jane Polan at (248) 626-2231 or