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In 1971, a small craft show sprung up on the lawn of the Lakeland Public Library. Now, exactly 50 years later, that once small craft show is known as Mayfaire by-the-Lake, and it’s one of the most prestigious juried outdoor festivals in all of Florida.

Every year, the free 2-day event takes place over the course of Mother’s Day weekend. This year Mayfair by-the-Lake will showcase the work of over 150 artists on the shores of Lake Morton in Downtown Lakeland, and will feature a variety of art for sale including photography, jewelry, paintings and more. This year’s featured judge for Mayfaire by-the-Lake is Jayne Wilkinson. Jayne is a writer, editor and independent curator from Toronto Canada, and is the former editor-in-chief at Canadian Art.

In honor of 50 years of Mayfaire by-the-Lake, families can check out the expanded Ruthven’s Mayfaire Kids Zone at its new location on the corner of East Walnut and Indiana Avenue, which will feature free art activities for children of all ages. The Polk Museum of Art itself will also be serving as the 50th Anniversary headquarters for Mayfaire, and will celebrate the fair’s history with new and exclusive exhibitions, including “Mayfaire at 50: Award Winners,” in the Murray/Ledger Gallery of the Museum, which will be highlighting past festival winners.

A new offering for attendees this year will be two eight-passenger golf carts operated by the Citrus Connection transit service, shuttling festival-goers from downtown parking lots to the Mayfaire site. The shuttles will operate from 8:45 a.m to 4 p.m. throughout the weekend.

Mayfaire by-the-Lake is one of the oldest arts festivals in Central Florida, and has been ranked among Sunshine Artist Magazine’s “200 Best Art Shows” for ten years in a row. The event is free to attend and will take place this weekend, May 7 & 8, from 9 a.m to 4 p.m.

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