It wouldn’t be summer in Highlands without a good craft show, COVID-19 or not.
Sponsored by the Mountain Top Rotary of Highlands, the Highlands Mountaintop Art and Craft Show, formerly known as the Village Square Art and Crafts Show is slated for 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Aug. 29-30, in Kelsey Hutchinson Founders Park.
Admission is free for both days of the show.
With the June version of the Village Square Art and Crafts Show falling prey to coronavirus, show organizers decided to take a step back and give it a second shot in August, complete with a new name and show.
Kirk Dornbush, 2020-21 Mountain Top Rotary of Highlands president said it was time for the local Rotary Club to take the lead in living with COVID-19.
“We had two choices, we could all stay home and hide behind our locked doors, or we could all go out and do what’s necessary to stay safe and protected, and live,” he said on Monday.
Dornbush said, taking the reins on this new art and craft show, and dealing with the new world of COVID-19, is a situation tailor made for Rotarians.
“This is something that motivates me and motivates Rotarians,” he said. “This is our moment. We do the hard work and we solve the problems. This isn’t going to be easy and these aren’t easy times but we do the difficult thing.”
That means making the show work in accordance with social distancing restrictions.
“We are designing this to be more than a casual stroll down Main Street on a Saturday,” Dornbush said. “There are rules in place and these are rules that must be followed. This means, masks must be worn, one-way traffic through the park must be maintained, and the crowd must be under control.”
Two entrances will be created and maintained, one at the end of Fourth Street and the other on Fifth Street. Entry will be restricted to those two access points, Dornbush said.
“We’re creating a one-way traffic flow through there,” he said. “We will also create that limited entry point as everybody will be required to wear a mask. If they don’t have one, they’ll be provided one, and if they still don’t want to wear one, we will invite them to go enjoy Highlands, but they would have to leave the Art and Craft Show.”
The social distancing will not be restricted to guests. Vendors will be required to wear masks and provide hand sanitizer.
“There will be only one customer allowed in a booth at a time, two if they’re a couple,” Dornbush said.
Also, Rotary ambassadors will be patrolling the perimeter down Oak Street at the ice rink and Carolina Way at the parking lots to direct pedestrian traffic to the Fourth and Fifth Street entry points.
“We’re not playing around,” Dornbush said. “We’re not going to be hoodlums, but if somebody doesn’t want to wear a mask they will be asked to leave.”
There will also be no food or beverages sold inside the art and craft Show.
“To be able to eat and drink, you’ll have to remove your mask, which defeats the whole purpose of wearing the masks,” he said. “We’ll be very actively managing the situation.”
A total of 65 vendors will be on hand, down from a normal 90 vendors from a year ago.
“Each booth will have a 10x10 footprint per booth, plus three feet include on each side for maintain a six-foot distance between booths,” Dornbush said. “The walkways on Pine Street will be 10-12 feet wide in both directions. It will much more conducive to following COVID-19 social distancing than a walk down Main Street.”
It’s not going to be easy, but it’s right up the Mountaintop Rotary Club’s alley.
“We’re looking forward to it,” Dornbush said. “We know it’s a lot of extra work. But it’s what we do.”
Show organizer Cynthia Strain said local artists need this venue.
“This will be the first opportunity that many people will have to participate in an art and craft show since February or March,” she said. “Our artisans are suffering from a lack of income, and many people have really missed getting outside to enjoy fun events like this.”
Proceeds go to their many important charitable causes, such as the Emergency Council in Highlands and efforts to eradicate polio around the world.
For more information, contact Strain at Mill Creek Gallery and Framing by calling 828-787-2021.