"I really had not heard about this virus or anything until March," organizer Connie Hainstock said.
The COVID-19 pandemic has smothered much of the performing arts scene in the area and has damaged commercial arts, too.
Connie Hainstock is a Parkland County resident who has run the annual Crafters to the Rafters vendor show and market in Stony Plain since 2013. This year brought her to a point where she had to cancel and the artisan said it has shocked her and the community.
“I really had not heard about this virus or anything until March,” she said. “We had our last show in November and I thought it would hit us in July. I did not think it would come so quickly and then when they started cancelling large events, I knew us shutting down had to be done.”
The arts and crafts community that normally packs the Heritage Park Pavilion in Stony Plain yearly in multiple events is still producing content at home. Hainstock added that she has been playing it by ear as her products are seasonal. She has heard from a number of people personally and online who have told her that their shelves are getting full due to a surplus of time and a lack of market.
“During this pandemic time I have been busy knitting,” St. Albert resident Cheryl Vivian wrote on Facebook after Hainstock announced she was hopeful future shows in the fall would go, and was taking applications for them. “Hopeful that the one in November can go ahead.”
In the event it does not and to deal with the present moment, Hainstock is working on formulating a digital space for people under the Crafters to the Rafters name. She conceded that it has been challenging to figure out, but there is potential there given lack of tech for some.
“Many of my vendors do not have social media,” she said. “So we have to diversify and try and find new ways of getting back out there. I have done a little digging into Facebook and online markets there and if we can do that it is a way for people who have no large following.”
In the future, Hainstock expects they will be more prepared for a similar event as well.
“This, of course, was kind of a surprise to everyone that I know,” Hainstock said. “Handling it is new territory but I think we will either try to focus more online or not have a physical market too much, but I do not entirely know. I do not really know what will be done in the future.”