The Custer Fair launches the summer festival season in Evanston this morning at 10 a.m. with up to 70,000 people expected to attend the two-day event in the Main Street and Chicago Avenue business district.

About 350 artists and craftspeople from across the nation exhibit and sell paintings, ceramics, pottery, photographs, jewelry, graphic arts, wearable art, country and home craft, antiques and collectables. They are joined by 150 local businesses and commercial exhibitors who put on an old fashioned Sidewalk Sale.

Over 30 food vendors offer a full international menu featuring the old favorites as well as new fare.

The Festival Stage features some of Chicagoland’s jazz legends like FlashBack Chicago, The Terré Cohen Orchestra conducted by Rich Maisel, Bopology, Blake and Blue, Jack Hubble Jazz Outfit, and John Temmerman’s Jazz Obsession Quartet.

The Arena Stage features a Native American Pow Wow on both days put on by The Native American Dance Troupe. Also featured are festival favorite Kraig Kenning, Christopher Greene & New Perspective. Then there is the all female Hurricane Saxophone Quartet. The Homewreckers and the Mark Cleveland Band.

In Eiden Park on Washington Street, kids can get free balloon sculptures from the teen clowns of Starfish Learning Center and enjoying the Jugglerman, Adam Zeisler.

The Piccolo Theatre Commedia Troupe performs both on the Show Stage and in Eiden Park.

Fair hours are 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. today and Sunday.

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