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Santa Barbara Arts and Crafts Show makes most out of pandemic circumstances

Santa Barbara Arts and Crafts Show
Alex Zauner/KEYT
After a sixth month hiatus, the Santa Barbara Arts and Crafts Show has returned to Cabrillo Boulevard.

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. —  The Santa Barbara Arts and Crafts Show has finally reopened on Cabrillo Boulevard.

After a sixth month hiatus, the artists are thankful to carry on with a 55-year-old tradition.

“It’s great,” one local artist Barbara Renick said. “I love being outside and seeing people from all over the place come and visit.”

The City of Santa Barbara Parks and Recreation department is doing its best to support the vendors by removing previous attendance requirements and creating an online reservation system to select spaces. 

“These are small businesses and this is the most important part of their income,” senior recreation supervisor Jason Bryan said. “This is also something that they really enjoy doing.”

For caricature artist Michael Beickel — who’s been participating in the show for the past 40 years — this marks an opportunity to get back to business.

“It feels wonderful to be back,” Beickel said. “I haven’t been able to perform my craft all these months.”

To protect the public, city staff is enforcing new COVID-19 safety precautions.

Masks are mandatory, hand washing stations were added and only one household can shop with a show member at one time.

Displays were also set back six-feet from the sidewalk edge to allow for physical distancing.

In addition to a generalized plan for all members, everyone must establish their own individualized safety plan.

However, only about one third of the artists — 29 showed up this Sunday — have returned.

“They are staying home because they have health concerns,” Bryan said. “We modified the rules to allow them to put their membership on hold.”

“There’s a lot of us that are my age {69} and older,” Beickel said. “Maybe they’re a little more worried than a young person is.”

Although people passing by have started taking notice of the stands, the show is still a bit slower than usual. 

“We’re getting a decent show for the third time back,” artist William Smariga said. “It’s nice to see that the people are coming back but I’d like to see more community support.”

“I made so much jewelry while we were not showing that I’ve got an inventory that I need to get rid of,” Renick concluded.

The Santa Barbara Arts and Crafts Show takes place every Sunday from 10 a.m. until dusk.

California / Community / Coronavirus / Economy / Events / Health / Lifestyle / Outdoors / Santa Barbara - South County
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Blake DeVine

Blake DeVine is a multimedia journalist at KEYT NewsChannel 3, KCOY NewsChannel 12 and KKFX My Fox 11

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