For the first time in what seems like a very long time, Kelsey-Hutchinson Founders Park was buzzing with people Saturday and Sunday.
The park had been nearly silent since February do to the COVID-19 pandemic that shuttered dozens of events and made social distancing part of the vernacular.
All that changed with the Mountaintop Art and Craft Show opened its doors for a two-day run. Sponsored by the Mountaintop Rotary Club, the event featured more than two dozen vendors spread across the park.
“Everything associated with the show went as well or better than we could have hoped for,” organizer Cynthia Strain said. “We had a very good crowd, and just as importantly we had a buying crowd. A lot of people found something to take home from the show.”
Of course the Mountaintop Art and Craft Show did come with some extra precautions. Facemasks were mandatory for all vendors and guests, foot traffic was limited to a one-way counter clockwise loop, al vendor booths had at least six feet of social distance in between them and hand sanitizer was readily available.
“At this point, people have gotten accustomed to having to wear a facemask in public and they understand the importance of hand sanitizer,” Strain said. “We didn’t hear any complaints about the safety measures.”
On the flip side, Strain noted that many of the vendors offered positive feedback regarding the format of the show.
“This weekend was so important to our vendors because many of them haven’t had a show in six months or more,” Strain said. “They may have had one or two in February or early March, but for the most part their entire season has been wiped out by COVID-19.”
Even Mother Nature lent a hand by pushing heavy rains and storms through the area on Friday, which set up perfect weather for Satruday and Sunday in the park.
“The weather is the one thing we wouldn’t control, but we really lucked out,” Strain said.
Strain added that the show offered a blueprint for future shows until the COVID-19 pandemic is under control. Traditionally, the Rotary hosts two shows each year in June and August.
“I don’t know how many I had come up and tell me that they were thankful we were able to host the show and host it safely,” Strain said. “They thanked the Rotary and the Town of Highlands for putting on such a nice event.”
The next public event at Kelsey-Hutchinson Founders Park will be Mountain Motoring on Sept. 11-13.