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Arts & Culture

Allentown's Mayfair says it's taking festival 'back to its roots'

Go Go Gadjet
Cedar Crest College
Go Go Gadjet is a Mayfair main stage performance this year scheduled for Friday, May 26, 2023.

ALLENTOWN, Pa. — Mayfair Festival of the Arts, the Allentown Memorial Day weekend festival that for the past five years has been held at Cedar Crest College, will return May 26-28, the festival announced Tuesday.

The festival also announced the 10 headline acts for its main stage — made up of mostly regional acts.

  • Mayfair Festival of the Arts will return to a fully open festival at Cedar Crest College on May 26-28
  • The Memorial Day weekend festival was canceled by COVID-19 in 2020 and held with masks and social distancing last year
  • The festival announced 10 musical acts that will headline its main stage

"The Mayfair Festival of the Arts is making a comeback," Cedar Crest announced in a release.
Mayfair was canceled in 2020 because of the coronavirus pandemic. It returned last year, but required attendees to wear face masks and social distance.

"Cedar Crest College takes Mayfair back to its roots to give festival-goers the same experience they loved decades ago."
Mayfair Festival of the Arts of Cedar Crest College prepared statement

"Cedar Crest College takes Mayfair back to its roots to give festival-goers the same experience they loved decades ago," the new release states. "Held on Cedar Crest's campus, Mayfair features food and craft vendors, artists, music and live performances."

Mayfair will be held 4-10 p.m. Friday, May 26; and noon-10 p.m. Saturday, May 27, and Sunday, May 28.

Parking will be available on site.

The headline acts include popular Lehigh Valley 1960s cover band The Large Flowerheads on Saturday, and longtime Valley favorite rock-alternative band Fuzzy Bunny Slippers to close Saturday night. Also, other popular cover bands Go Go Gadget to close Friday's opening night and UUU to close the festival Sunday night.

Mayfair history

The free festival was revived by Cedar Crest in 2018 after a year hiatus, drawing a total attendance of close to 24,000.

The festival started in Allentown’s nearby Cedar Creek Park, where it was held for 28 years. In 2013, citing heavy rains and flooding during some years, organizers moved it to the Agri-Plex at Allentown Fairgrounds. In recent years, especially after its move to Allentown Fairgrounds, Mayfair’s focus changed to visual artists.

Mayfair was free for its first 19 years before organizers gated the park and first charged admission in 2005. The admission fee continued when the festival moved to Allentown Fairgrounds.

At flood-prone Cedar Creek Park, Mayfair often was buffeted by the weather, and that was one reason it struggled financially for years. It lost money in 14 of its 30 years — and it went into debt after bad weather in 2011 and 2012.

In 2016, Mayfair's board canceled the festival, blaming a shifting community dynamic, a decline in the number of volunteers and competition from other concert and arts venues.

Main stage acts

Here is the schedule for the new Mayfair acts:

Friday, May 26

4-6 p.m. Rogue Diplomats

7-10 p.m. Go Go Gadjet

Saturday, May 27

Noon-2 p.m. The Large Flowerheads

2:45-4:45 p.m. Reservoir Hill

5:15-6:15 p.m. Moonroof

7-10 p.m. Fuzzy Bunny Slippers

Sunday, May 28

Noon-1:30 p.m. The Buzz

2:15-3:45 p.m. The Stefanie Johnson Band

4:30-6 p.m. The Wonton Soups

7-10 p.m. UUU