This Labor Day weekend marked the 25th convening of the Outsider Art Fair at the Judith Racht Gallery in Harbert. How is this one different from all others? Some might say the work on Red Arrow Highway –  i.e., reducing traffic to three lanes, adding an extraordinarily popular non-motorized pathway connecting to Harbert Community Park — which made it very difficult to get to the event. Some might say the windfall in Township revenue due to the scores of parking tickets given to shoppers who were not aware of local rules on boulevard parking and street blockage.

But I say: Covid. The Outsider’s Art Fair brought scores of vendors from all over the Midwest (and maybe even points further). I counted about 60 in the vendors group, none of whom were wearing masks during the drive-by visits I made to the site. The Fair also brought shoppers. During my drive-bys the average was about 100, of whom about 25 were wearing masks. So at any random time there were about 160 people in close contact, with about 15 percent wearing masks. Not a good place to shake the dice on staying healthy — even if you are vaccinated.

Friends, we all want the pandemic to be over. But thoughtless spreader events are delaying the time when we are all going to be safe. I love the Outsider art Fair. But not this one.

Garth Taylor


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