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Emily Hartley, Published July 16 2010

Put your own spin on it: Street Fair booths offer personalization

With “Spinmaster B” splattered across the back of his T-shirt, Brian Schumacher was all smiles Thursday at his first Fargo Downtown Street Fair.

After all, his Spin Magic painting booth marks its first year in business today, a year after he, his daughter (“Spinderella”) and his nephew (“Professor of Spinology”) started it outside the flower shop Schumacher owns in Crookston, Minn.

“It came to a lot more than we ever thought it would be,” Schumacher said at his energetic space near the intersection of Broadway and Third Avenue North.

Kids and adults alike gathered around to squirt paint onto a spinning wheel, making patterns on everything from shirts to Frisbees to covered cake pans and scrapbook paper.

Schumacher built one of the two bins he uses for the paint spinning. The other he bought at an auction more than 15 years ago.

It wasn’t until February 2009, when he saw the bin in the basement of his floral shop, that he and the rest of the Spin Magic crew decided to try something new for Crookston’s Crazy Days celebration. Since last July, they’ve done county fairs, craft festivals and post-prom parties. Business is booming as they find new things to splatter with their specially designed paint.

Schumacher thinks the root of their success is the hands-on aspect of the business, which he said attracts an equal amount of children and adults.

“They’re getting to do it all themselves,” he said. “You get to see it right in front of you. It’s kind of mesmerizing.”

A personalized touch is key at the Lakes of Wood booth, too. Owners Mitch and Sue Pekoc of Three Lakes, Wis., offer three-dimensional, wood maps of area lakes.

Mitch Pekoc, who used to build lake homes, makes the maps, which display the topography of the lakes’ bottoms. In their fifth year at the Street Fair, the Pekocs say Lake Superior is their biggest seller, but Pelican Lake and Big Cormorant sell quickly in Fargo.

Customers’ suggestions for icons to mark their cabins’ spots on lakes resulted in about 20 different icons used to personalize the maps.

The Pekocs mainly make lake maps, but he has also produced maps of states, Canadian provinces and Norway.

“He loves a challenge,” Sue Pekoc said.

“And I love maps,” Mitch Pekoc added.

Jim and Carol Lucas of Two Feathers Coin Art like a challenge, too. A master silversmith, Jim cuts coins and plates them with platinum and gold to make jewelry, money clips and art.

The Phoenix couple receives requests from people around the world for types and years of coins. Jim says his favorite coin to cut is the German 5 mark. Because of its lettering and intricacy, the coin takes about 18 hours from start to finish.

The couple from Phoenix is at the Street Fair for the second time, thanks to friends in Grand Forks who invited them to participate last year.

“The people in North Dakota are so kind and so nice,” Carol Lucas said. “I talked about it all year.”

If you go

Readers can reach Forum reporter Emily Hartley at (701) 235-7311