Members of JCI Hopkins invites people to eat, shop and have fun at the annual Mainstreet Day Arts and Crafts Fair 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, May 18, in downtown Hopkins.

JCI Hopkins, a leadership development and community service organization for young professionals, has been sponsoring this outdoor event for about 25 years, according to Erin Bryan, current JCI president and event co-chair.

This year, the event will include more than 150 arts and crafts vendors filling Mainstreet between Seventh and 12th avenues.

“It’s a real celebration of Hopkins and we love that Mainstreet is so walkable,” Bryan said.

Among the items available for purchase will be jewelry and accessories, woodwork, housewares, apparel, photography, artwork, garden décor, health and wellness items, yard games and gifts for children. Guests will be able to find unique craft items for any occasion and any style.

Food booths will also be located throughout the fair, such as a barbecue truck, a gyro vendor and the Naturally Delicious ice cream truck.

“There are new food vendors that we are excited about as well as some of our greatest hits,” she said.

This family-friendly event will also include entertainment, including live music, a balloon twister, train rides and face painting.

The event is free and open to the public and takes place rain or shine.

Net proceeds will go back into the community, Bryan explained, noting this is one of the organization’s largest fundraisers, which in turn supports various projects throughout the year, including Cops ’N Kids shopping, Little Free Libraries, Bowling with the Bunny, scholarships for Hopkins High School seniors and charitable donations to local organizations and programs.

JCI Hopkins is a group of young adults ages 18-40 committed to making a positive change in the community.

For information on Mainstreet Day, visit mainstreetdaysartsandcraftfair.weebly.com, call JCI Hopkins at 612-460-0522, or find the event on Facebook.

Currently, there are 18 members in JCI Hopkins, and the group meets at 7 p.m. on the second Thursday of the month at the Hopkins Elks Lodge, 30 Eighth Ave. S., Hopkins.

Anyone with questions about joining JCI can contact Julie at juliehauring@gmail.com.

Raju Lamichhane, Raju’s Arts Hopkins artist

Hopkins artist Raju Lamichhane will be among the vendors at Mainstreet Day and will feature his newspaper collage artwork.

“Nature is what has the most influence on my artwork,” Lamichhane said. “Ever since childhood I had always been astounded by the simple beauty of nature. I found myself questioning how this beauty could be replicated. My art is my attempt at recreating a fraction of the wonders I see every day in nature.”

To do that, he uses recycled newspapers and print materials. A fascination came to him one day while collecting household garbage to throw out, finding a variety of old newspapers, advertisements and junk mail.

“Looking at all of these colorful sheets of paper, I realized what a waste of vibrant materials it was,” he said.

So, he gathered the colorful papers and went straight to work on a new art piece.

While his first few attempts at this new art style did not meet his expectations, “I did not back down,” he said, determined to perfect this newfound technique.

“Being able to complete this piece brought me a pleasure which I can’t express in words,” he said. “I felt like I was giving a new life to something that was on the verge of death.”

His passion for nature ultimately drives him to reuse newspaper in his art.

“Seeing the state our environment is in deeply worries me,” said Lamichhane. “There is so much that goes to waste that ultimately ends up in landfills ... emitting toxins and greenhouse gases into our atmosphere. My art is my purist in bringing awareness to this matter and my efforts in reducing my harmful ecological footprint to the earth while encouraging others to do the same.”

At Mainstreet Day, Lamichhane will sell original art pieces of birds, animals, trees and flowers made of newspapers, advertising circulars and junk mail. He will also sell some prints of his artwork and greeting cards.

Hepp’s Salt Co., Hopkins

Brian and Amber Hepp of Hepp’s Salt Co. will also be at Mainstreet Day, selling a variety of gourmet, natural sea salts.

Hepp’s Salt Co. was created with a vision to reinvent the way people think about salt, explained owner Brian Hepp, who says he’s always had a strong passion for cooking with spices, herbs, and global flavors.

After years of making his own blends, Hepp discovered the uniqueness of sea salt offered throughout the different regions of the world, fueling a desire of wanting to change the way people think about salt.

Eventually, he was inspired to leave his job in medical sales and go into the salt business, in an effort to give people an alternative to what was on the grocers’ shelves.

When they looked for natural sea salt, the purest and free of any chemicals, every option had artificial ingredients and anti-caking agents, Hepp explained.

He and his wife, Amber, decided to start their own company focusing on natural sea salts, importing salts from all over the world and infusing them with the highest quality ingredients. Some varieties include smoked salt, spicy salt and truffle salt made with real Italian truffles, Hepp noted.

“We have a ton of flavored salts, finishing salts, cooking salts. You name it, we more than likely have it,” Hepp said.

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Kristen Miller is the community editor for the Sun Sailor, covering the communities of Plymouth and Hopkins. Email story ideas to kristen.miller@ecm-inc.com

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