Mayfair heads to higher ground on Cedar Crest College campus
Mayfair returns to its roots this year as a free community festival, but at a new location.
Last year, Memorial Day weekend was left without the annual Allentown music and arts festival when Mayfair was canceled after nearly 30 years.
Now Cedar Crest College has taken over the reins and will present the three-day festival admission-free, noon-10 p.m. May 25-27, on its 84-acre, tree-lined campus at Hamilton and Cedar Crest boulevards.
Returning will be multiple stages featuring continuous music by popular local and regional bands, an artists’ market, children’s activities, food stands and beer and wine to herald the unofficial start of summer.
Lauren Condon, director of the Student Union and Engagement for Cedar Crest College, says college officials were approached last year by the previous Mayfair board and Cedar Crest officials thought it was a good fit.
“We have a beautiful campus and this is a well-established festival,” Condon says.
She adds that the timing is perfect, since college classes have concluded for the year and organizers thought the festival would increase the visibility of the college.
“Cedar Crest College just celebrated its 150th birthday and we are well-established in the Lehigh Valley, but there are many people who have never been here,” Condon says. “This is an opportunity to invite the community to our campus.”
Condon admits running the festival has been a “huge undertaking,” but says it helps to have lots of students and alumna volunteering.
The festival will feature two primary stages: a main stage off of College Drive, and a bandstand stage at the Blaney Hall Circle, as well as additional performances in Almunae Hall and strolling performers. The Artists’ Market will be held outdoors and inside Lees Hall.
Children’s activities will be in front of Miller Family Building and there will be a children’s art tent next to the Quad. Food and drink vendors will line the roads on either side of the Quad.
Condon says the college also wants to emphasize education by having artists-in-action demonstrations and holding tours of the college’s William F. Curtis Arboretum, a nationally-registered arboretum with more than 150 species of trees from around the world.
Mayfair was founded 31 years ago as a free arts and music festival in Cedar Beach Park. Although initially attracting thousands, the festival was plagued by inclement weather and struggled financially.
In 2005, the festival became a gated event with admission charged, but still faced the uncertainties of the weather in areas of flood-prone Cedar Beach Park.
In 2013, Mayfair moved to the Agri-Plex at the Allentown Fairgrounds, where it had the advantage of indoor and outdoor venues. Admission continued to be charged until the festival was canceled last year.
At Cedar Crest’s Mayfair, entertainment, activities and artists’ market is free, says Condon. The Crest campus is west of and not far from Cedar Beach Park, but on higher ground.
There are more than 30 performances during the three days and Condon says all have ties to the Lehigh Valley.
Headliners on the main stage are local 1960s and 1970s music cover band, Large Flowerheads, May 25; disco band, Philadelphia Funk Authority, May 26, and the synth sounds of Go Go Gadjet, May 27. Jimmy Buffet cover band Jimmy and the Parrots will get the party going the afternoon of May 26. There are performances on the stage noon-10 p.m. all three days.
Performances on the bandstand stage include local musicians Ethan Cramer, Cubbage, and Ophelia (Dina Hall and Beth Sherby), Tap Ties, Dieruff High School Jazz Band, and the Bill Moyer Group. The bandstand stage will have performances noon-7 p.m. all three days,
Condon says invitations for the artist’ market were sent to local artists those who had previously been at Mayfair. Art ranges from painting and photography to woodwork, pottery and jewelry in the artists’ market noon-8 p.m.
“It was important to us to stay local to the Lehigh Valley,” she says.
Condon says the college will “tie in the education piece” with demonstrations of origami, yoga and plein-air painting May 26 and 27.
She says 14 food vendors, including Cactus Blue’s new food truck, will offer a variety of food such as funnel cakes, burgers, hot dogs, pierogis, tacos, Caribbean noodles, fajitas, grilled chicken teriyaki, gyros, and desserts, including fried Oreos and ice cream.
Banko Beverages will have its beer truck, serving Summer Shandy, Yuengling Lager, Stella Artois and Summer Ale for those age 21 and older. Franklin Hills Vineyards will have a selection of wine for purchase.
Condon says while the festival is family-friendly, there will be two areas dedicated to children’s activities. Franki’s Fun Zone, named for college mascot Franki the Falcon, will feature inflatables, face-painting, pony rides, a rock wall, and performances.
The festival has partnered with the Baum School of Art, which will host a children’s art tent offering free art projects May 26 and 27.
Free arboretum walking tours will be offered at 11 a.m. all three days. Tours are limited to the first 50 people registered per day. To register: cedarcrest.edu/arboretum.
Condon says there is free parking on campus and in campus lots.
“We hope people will have fun and learn about art as well,” Condon says. “We are excited to continue this tradition on our campus.”