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Mixon Fruit Farms in Bradenton is open for business after a two-month closure due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and the farm is celebrating its reopening with an arts and crafts fair this Saturday, June 6. Thirty vendors will be selling crafts, the deli counter and produce market will be open to customers and a new play area with waterslides and a bee and butterfly exhibit will entertain the kids. Stop by the farm between 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. to enjoy the fair, and help support a family business.

"We are really excited to reopen," says Janet Mixon. "We had to cancel a lot of events and offer curbside pickup only for the past two months." Mixon had to cancel its harvest festival in March, and postponed 10 weddings and 37 events, including field trips.

March is usually Mixon's busiest month, but because of the shutdown of spring training at the nearby Pittsburgh Pirates stadium and strict stay-at-home orders, business has been slow.

"It was a tough time," says Mixon. "We went from basically filling our store every day to being empty." The Mixon family kept on five employees and used the closure as a time to renovate. Customers can enjoy new TV screens in the market, a repainted barn and new exhibits for kids.

"Our beekeeper, Lisa Armstrong, will be at the fair talking to kids about the importance of bees," says Mixon. "It's also a great opportunity to incorporate STEM topics for schools coming on field trips." The craft fair will also include Monica Welde from Bearadise Ranch and Gabby Hermann with Lipizzan Horses, who will share plans for their summer attractions.

"We have implemented CDC guideline to keep people safe," says Mixon. Employees are required to wear masks and gloves, surfaces will be sanitized frequently and the craft vendors will practice social distancing. The Mixon family also purchased UV-C light wands, which kill bacteria and germs on often-touched surfaces.

Despite the two-month closure, the Mixon family is hopeful that with reopening, business will pick up again.  "People have been purchasing our citrus juice, for the vitamin C, and will do just about anything to eat our delicious ice cream," says Mixon. "We believe this experience will make us stronger."

Mixon Fruit Farms is located at 2525 27th St. E., Bradenton. The Arts and Craft Fair takes place 10 a.m.-3 p.m. this Saturday, June 6. For more information, click here, or call (800) 608-2525.

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