RED WING -- The 2020 Arts Fall Festival will be held as scheduled on Saturday and Sunday. But changes will be made from previous years to keep artists and visitors safe.

In past years, the event has been held downtown, filling streets with artist tents and activities for the family. This year, artists will be found in three different marketplaces -- the Depot, in Central Park and at City Hall.

Emily Foos, the executive director of Red Wing Arts, said that dividing the festival into three marketplaces allows more people to visit the festival while staying under the maximum occupant capacity allowed in one gathering in Minnesota.

Red Wing Arts Fall Festival will have three locations to better disperse visitors and artists during the pandemic. RWAA map
Red Wing Arts Fall Festival will have three locations to better disperse visitors and artists during the pandemic. RWAA map

Fewer artists than usual will be showing their work this weekend as well.

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“This year we will have only about 40 artists participating where in a typical year we usually have about 110 to 115,” said Foos. “So we’ve scaled it back, we’ve spread it out and then within each marketplace, we will be creating a one-way flow of traffic.”

The process of selecting artists to show their work during the event began as it usually does: registration was opened in January for interested creatives to sign up.

“People who submitted to that had no clue where we’d be now,” Foos said.

Once it was clear that the pandemic could affect the festival, Red Wing Arts began brainstorming alternative methods of hosting the festival.

“We were going to just do a virtual event," Foos said, "but then we recognized, we surveyed downtown businesses, we heard so much feedback from the city, etc. that, if possible, to try to do this event.”

Neal Topliff entertains during a past Red Wing Arts Fall Festival. The 2020 event will be Oct. 10 and 11. RiverTown file photo
Neal Topliff entertains during a past Red Wing Arts Fall Festival. The 2020 event will be Oct. 10 and 11. RiverTown file photo

Artists who decided not to participate in person can still be a part of the festivities. An online festival and marketplace will be created to showcase art.

“We do recognize that a lot of our guests that would typically come down to this event aren’t going to this year,” Foos said.

She hopes visitors will take time while in the city to enjoy more of what Red Wing offers. “We’re really going to focus on directing people through each event and through downtown, but then out to our parks and our bluffs and get out and enjoy Red Wing outside of downtown.

“It’s the perfect time of year… go see public art, go out to the Anderson Center and see their sculpture garden and go climb the bluff.”

If you go

When: Saturday and Sunday

Where: The Red Wing Arts Depot (418 Levee Road), Central Park (Central Park Street) and City Hall (315 W. Fourth St.).

Safety: Masks are required; each marketplace will be monitored to ensure that the space does not exceed its capacity limit. When entering the marketplaces, follow signs for one-way walking traffic.

For more information, go to: https://redwingarts.org