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MSU Craft Fairs: Michigan's Defining Art & Craft Festivals

Michigan State University is one of America's premier state universities with student body comprised nearly 40,000 students and is regularly ranked highly in listings of top universities. Normally when thinking of Michigan State University, you’ll think of academia, athletics, and the entertaining surroundings of East Lansing. For over 50 years now MSU has been home to Michigan's largest crafts fairs, the Holiday Show and Spring Show. Taking place in the MSU Student Union, the fairs feature a staggering amount of artisans and showcases the beautiful Michigan campus. Thousands of craft lovers from all over Michigan and the Upper Midwest make their way to East Lansing for these unique and popular shows.


No matter which show you choose or if you're going to visit both, the selection of items will appeal to every shopper. They will have a wide range of unique handmade items for sale that include sculptures, candles, paintings, jewelry, clothes, artisan food, toys and the list goes on and on. The friendly, energetic, and social atmosphere is perfect for the entire family. The are food vendors onsite as well as campus dining options in case all the shopping works up a hunger. The fairs are not just about selling crafts, they are raising money for the University Activities Board that aims to provide low cost activities for MSU students. got the opportunity to iterview Brian Proffer, the Assistant Manager of the University Activities Board, about the craft fairs.


RAL: Tell me about the event.

BP: This year is our 52nd year for each of our shows! Between our Holiday Show and Spring Show we draw anywhere between 30-35,000 participants. Our show has a little bit of everything for everyone. We have items for families, couples, children, homes, gardens, friends, celebrations, and more!


RAL: What makes the craft fairs unique?

BP: These events are some of the largest arts and crafts shows in the state with some of the most unique homemade items that you will find!


RAL: What can attendees expect?

BP: Both of our shows have FREE admission! For our Holiday Show, we host an average of 140 vendors in the historic MSU Union Building the first weekend after Thanksgiving every year. For our Spring Show, we’ll have around 315 vendors on the grounds surrounding the historic MSU Union Building the third weekend of May.


RAL: What will visitors find for food options and the overall environment of the fairs?

BP: For both shows, we offer great concessions from a variety of food vendors, including the MSU Union Food Court, MSU Concessions Trailer, and the infamous MSU Dairy Store! Each show has an electrifying and positive energy about it that comes from the vendors, guests, and the team that hosts each show. We strive to create a positive, inclusive, and welcoming atmosphere where guests can enjoy a great event with fantastic vendors and excellent customer service.


RAL: What can attendees expect to find for local lodging?

BP: Currently we do not have any lodging specials set up with any local establishments, however Michigan State University Campus boasts two superb lodging establishments, the Kellogg Hotel and Conference Center as well as a Candlewood Suites. Additionally, there is a full list on our website guests may check out for additional lodging options.


RAL: What do the fairs mean to the community?

BP: These shows are huge not only for the Michigan State University Community, but also the local East Lansing and Lansing communities. There’s always great local restaurants and local businesses to peruse after shopping at our great show! And we coordinate the dates of our Spring show to coincide with the East Lansing Art Festival which occurs across the street. Those who attend get two fantastic events in one weekend!


RAL: Do the MSU Craft Fairs support a special cause in the community?

BP: Yes, the MSU Holiday and Spring Arts and Crafts Shows support the Michigan State University, University Activities Board (UAB). The fees our vendors pay to participate in our show go to the programming budget of UAB. This is a student-driven department on campus that provides quality social, recreational, and educational programs planned and implemented by students, for students in the MSU community. UAB provides free or low-cost entertainment for students and serves as an alternate late night / weekend entertainment choice. Over the course of the academic year UAB will host almost 300 events for MSU Students to participate in with over 90,000 participants each year.


RAL: Why should people come to the fairs?

BP: The MSU Holiday and Spring Arts and Crafts Shows are unique and family-oriented events. You will be able to find special one-of-a-kind treasures handmade by crafters and artisans from across the state and the country. You can make a weekend out of it while checking out the local shops and restaurants as well as exploring the beautiful Michigan State University Campus and its hidden gems such as the MSU Dairy Store, Beaumont Tower, and The Rock. When you shop at our show and with our vendors, you are helping to support and enable a pivotal part of the MSU community. You’re allowing us to continue to provide programming for Michigan State University while enriching the experience of the student population!

For more information about the MSU Craft Fairs please visit their website.