St. Joseph City Commissioners have approved the special event permit for the 2024 Krasl Art Fair on the Bluff.

At a Monday meeting, they heard from the Krasl Art Center’s Tami Fauver, who said the fair last year attracted 23,000 people to downtown St. Joe.

“The art fair supports Krasl Art Center,” Fauver said. “It supports the work that we do year-round, which includes free admission to our galleries and a lot of various free programs and outreach that we do in the community, and it also supports the economics of our community.”

Fauver said when people come to St. Joseph for the fair, they stay in local hotels, eat at local restaurants, and shop in local stores.

Commissioners previously went over the question of an admission fee for the fair. Krasl had proposed asking for a suggested donation of $5 for people to get in, while commissioners wanted to keep it free because it’s held in a public park. The Krasl agreed and will only suggest a general donation to those who enter this year.

Mayor Brook Thomas told us a good compromise has been reached.

“The art fair gets to continue, they get to still ask for financial donations if people so wish, but then we’re also as a city being responsible with taxpayer dollars and not allowing a non-profit to fundraise on property without paying for it,” Thomas said. “So, I think it’s a really good middle ground to reach and still have the best of both worlds.”

Thomas said members of the community had told her they oppose the $5 donation because it doesn’t promote inclusivity.

The Krasl Art Fair on the Bluff will be July 12 through July 14. When visitors enter, they will have the choice whether to make a small donation to the art center to support its programs.