HIBBING — Cynthia Kafut Hagen believes that art, music and creativity pumps through the veins of many who’ve grown up in Bob Dylan’s hometown. She says it’s not only part of the culture here, it’s ingrained in our identity.
Kafut Hagen has countless memories of the many art classes she attended at the Hibbing High School and of hot July days meandering from booth to booth, ogling the unique, handcrafted items at the Mines and Pines festival in north Hibbing.
Those experiences helped forge Kafut Hagen into the artist she is today. So, more than a decade ago when the Hibbing native heard that the Mines and Pines festival had called it quits, she told herself that when the time was right, she’d help find a way to bring it back.
“I’m an artist personally, I do ceramics and drawings, and I wanted to do an art fair in my own town,” Kafut Hagen told the Hibbing Daily Tribune Wednesday morning at Caribou Coffee in Hibbing. “I want to promote Hibbing. I live here. I like it here. I want to have something fun to do for everyone. ”
Years passed and every summer the absence of the craft fair was never far from Kafut Hagen’s mind. Then in the fall of 2017, she and her younger sister were attending an art festival in Little Falls and seeing the economic impact that one event had on the town really hit her. In this regard, she said, Hibbing was simply missing the boat.
“I said that’s it, Hibbing needs to have an art festival like that,” she said. “We’re Bob Dylan’s hometown and we can’t even have an arts and music festival?”
Kafut Hagen returned and in November of that year she reached out to Pete Hyduke, the director of city services in Hibbing, to pitch the idea of bringing Mines and Pines back. He was in. From there, Kafut Hagen began handpicking a dream team of artists, musicians, city employees and chamber members who shared her vision of establishing a high quality event with professional artists and original music right here in their hometown.
Their concept—“Mines and Pines: Revisited”— is now more than just an idea. The two-day festival is scheduled for July 20-21 at Bennett Park in Hibbing and reboots the former craft fair into an intergenerational festival brimming with homegrown musical acts, rich culture, artwork, food vendors and kids’ activities. Hibbing’s BoomTown Brewery and Woodfire Grill will even be there serving up cold microbrews in the beer garden. It’s a celebration intended to braid people together from across the Range while supporting the arts and artists who make that possible.
“This is going to be an exceptional art fair,” Kafut Hagen insisted. “It’s a juried show, so it’s going to be high quality. And we’re capping it at 100. It’s going to be intimate.”
The newly formed M&PR committee will also be awarding several cash prizes— one up to $500— to artists in hopes of luring in the best creatives in the area. They’re also aiming high when it comes to local musical acts, which they believe could dominate the scene. So far, their line-up includes names like Greg Tiburzi, Average Mammals, Hobo Revival and Big Wave, among others.
Kafut Hagen said the committee has been pleased with the applications so far and will continue to review more as they flow in. As this is their first year launching the reimagined event, there’s no deadline to apply.
“Supporting and celebrating the arts is essential to our identity,” Kafut Hagen said. “All the people we have booked are from the Iron Range.”
She continued, “People should come and sign up because this is going to be a really, really great time. And it’s a good opportunity to get in on the ground floor of what will be one of the best art fairs in northern Minnesota.”
The Mines and Pines Revisited committee recently secured a $5,000 grant from Explore Minnesota and has been closely partnered with the Hibbing Area Chamber. Without the latter, Kafut Hagen said, none of this would have been possible. She’s also excited to announce that the local Farmer’s Market will be there along with the Hibbing Dylan Project, a nonprofit organization, and the Hibbing Fire Department, who will provide a fire truck for the kids to explore.
There will even be a special section for vendors selling hand crafted consumables, like spices, soaps and candles.
“Everyone will find something to enjoy at the park and tents to sit under,” Kafut Hagen said. “There's going to be good food, good music and good art.”
She continued, “We have a lot to be proud of in Hibbing. We have much to celebrate and this is a celebration. I have some big plans for making Hibbing a music and arts party for the summer.”
Any vendors, artists or musicians interested in applying may visit https://hibbingminesandpines.org/ or call the Hibbing Area Chamber at 218-262-3895. To stay up to date on the event, follow their Facebook page “Mines & Pines Revisited Arts & Music Festival.”