In a bleak week for events in Santa Barbara as sports, concerts, fundraisers, and celebrations have been cancelled left and right, the Parks and Recreation department has a bit of good news; the long running Arts and Crafts Show will be continuing.
Sponsored by the Parks and Recreation department since 1996, the show takes place every Sunday year-round on Cabrillo Boulevard from Stearns Wharf to Calle Cesar Chavez from 10 a.m. to dusk. It features approximately 200 local artisans who display and sell their own original work in an informal atmosphere.
While larger events around the city have been cancelled following Governor Gavin Newsom’s announcement that non-essential gatherings must be limited to no more than 250 people, smaller events can proceed only if the organizers can implement social distancing of 6 feet per person.
The Parks and Recreation Department will continue to monitor the situation and update show members if there are any changes, but for now they’ve taken some steps to ensure the safety of the artisans and visitors as the art show continues.
The minimum attendance requirement for show members is being temporarily waived to allow artisans the ability to stay home if they wish without risk of losing their assigned space.
Additionally, the city is renting three portable hand washing stations to be placed along the show line for show members’ and the public’s use.
Brad Kazmerzak, a landscape photographer who has worked the art show for 18 years and sits on the show’s advisory committee, told the News-Press he would be out there on Sunday for sure.
“It’s how I make a living,” said Mr. Kazmerzak.
Many of the artisans are self-employed and expect to be left in the cold when it comes to emergency benefits or assistance, Mr. Kazmerzak explained.
“We’re definitely in a different wheelhouse,” said Mr. Kazmerzak.
“I know that there are some artists that are older or some have health issues and they’re not going to show. Makes sense, but a lot of people in my position, we’re down there when it’s raining sometimes just because we’ve got to try to squeeze out a sale if we have to.”
Mr. Kazmerek expects most of the artisans to turn out, and said they all have been taking precautions like bringing hand sanitizer and practicing social distancing.
“It’s an open-air show. You definitely can keep your distance from people if you feel you need to do that. It’s not an airborne virus as far as we know at this point, so keep your distance from people. Really the only other transaction will be money or credit cards, and if it gets really bad I guess we’d probably use latex gloves,” said Mr. Kazemerek.
Mr. Kazemerek is not too worried about the event, and pointed out that it’s about as safe a social event as you can have.
“I’ve talked to a lot of friends and family who have said, ‘Gosh, of all things to stay open, it makes the most sense,’” said Mr. Kazemerek.
Regardless of the coronavirus situation, Sunday’s show is expected to have a lower turnout due to predictions of rain throughout the day. Nevertheless, Mr. Kazemrek said the show members are optimistic.
“A lot of it is going to depend on what happens in Santa Barbara and the outlying areas. If we don’t get a lot of cases here I think people will be more willing to come out. People don’t like to be stuck in their house,” said Mr. Kazmerzak.
“There’s a lot of us down there that rely on this for our income, and barring the weather, as long as things are still safe we just want people to know we’re still going to be there.”