Yesterday, I received a disheartening email from the truly lovely directors at my favorite Holiday show, the Humboldt Artisans Craft & Music Festival. "Due to COVID-19, we will not be able to hold the 41st Annual Humboldt Artisans Crafts & Music Festival. We have weighed all the options and decided this is the best decision that doesn’t risk anyone’s health or investment to vend at the event... There is a likelihood that Redwood Acres Fairgrounds may be permanently closed."
This isn't the first show to be canceled, nor will it be the last, but it is the farthest event in the future (for me) to be dismantled. Additionally, the North Coast Otters Project (which I was involved with) has been postponed until next year entirely. 2020 would have been my 14th season to show at the Humboldt Artisans Craft and Music Festival. I can't even remember holiday seasons that don't involve frantic Tetris packing, show shenanigans, fun or crazy booth neighbors and outfitting my fellow Humboldtians and friends with truly one-of-a-kind art to give as gifts to their loved ones. I guess Amazon will benefit.
For 40 years, the festival has featured over 100 craft booths featuring local and regional artists and four stages of live music; all day, everyday. Most buildings have hot food and drink vendors too, in a addition to all the booths selling delicious treats as their art form. Humboldt Cider Company (a personal favorite of mine) has a tap garden on the premises of the fairgrounds as well, leading to occasional delicious meals of holiday ciders, fruit pies, and Frankie's Bagels.
Humboldt Artisans is a juried show, meaning they use a jury of artists to rate applications, and then accept only the best works, all handcrafted and of a certain caliber. I've never seen more beautiful glass work or pottery in my life than at this show, outside of a museum. I applied and was denied four times before I was accepted; the directors gave me feedback that helped me improve my photography skills that allowed me to better show my product and once I figured that out, (Hello, digital camera in the early 00's,) I was in. Since then, I've participated every year-even traveling to Humboldt for the show when I briefly lived in Orange County.
For almost two decades, I've spent every Holiday season at art shows and the nine months in between designing, creating, wrapping, painting, glittering and stockpiling jewels and artwork to share with all of you. The 400-600 pieces of jewelry and dozens of paintings it takes to fill my booth is a labor of intense love and joy that happens because of months of dedication. I will create and continue to flourish in my creativity during this intense time, because for me, making beautiful things is enough.
I will miss seeing you all this Fall and Winter, and I hope this is simply a pause rather than an end to a beautiful tradition of Humboldt community art.