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Plaza Art Fair Draws Big Weekend Crowds

Ben Palosaari

This weekend, the Country Club Plaza hosted its 83rd annual Plaza Art Fair. And it was Cedar, Michigan-based sculptor Julie Kradel’s first time displaying her work at the city's traditional kickoff to Autumn. Around noon on Sunday Kradel was pleased with her first interaction with Kansas City art fans. She said visitors were knowledgeable and engaging. 

“I’ve actually had people come back Friday, Saturday and Sunday – the same people," she said as customers looked at her work.

Kradel’s display tent on Nichols Road was churning with visitors drawn to her whimsical sculptures of happy-looking hares, sheep and donkeys with long, elegant ears. The inspiration for her pieces, which can take more than a month to create, comes from her childhood love of animals.

“I used to think that my stuffed animals came alive at night," she said. "And I think that my sculptures have that potential to come alive at night.”

Most of the Plaza's publicity over the last few months has been for high-profile store closings, including Hall's and Jack Henry. But show organizers expected the fair to be a bit of good news for retailers and artists. They estimated 250,000 visitors would come to the fair over the course of the weekend. 

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