Mayfaire began as a small craft fair on the lawn of the Lakeland Public Library on Mother’s Day weekend in 1971. The first year, it was organized by Polk Museum volunteers and featured about a dozen artisans. By 1977, it had grown so much it was moved to the shores of Lake Morton and renamed “Mayfaire by-the-Lake.” The event quickly gained a statewide reputation because of the quality of art and crafts being exhibited thanks to being a juried show, which means a panel had to qualify applicants to be accepted.
Still held on Mother’s Day weekend each year, MIDFLORIDA Mayfaire by-the-Lake is one of the largest and oldest outdoor art festivals in Central Florida and is on Sunshine Artist magazine’s “Best 200 Art Shows” list.
This 1985 photo shows Mayfaire coordinators Lynne Fargher (left) and Helen Ramsey (right). Affectionately referred to by Polk Museum staffers as “the Mayfairies,” both ladies served as coordinators for many years. Helen Ramsey has been a Mayfairie for twenty-five years and still volunteers every year.
Special thanks to Sandra Dimsdale Horan, Polk Museum of Art.