The outdoor craft show hosted Saturday by Richland Township Fire Department helped “tremendously” in mitigating the financial losses sustained by the department as a result of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, said the department’s fundraising coordinator, Andi Cveykus.
“Since my spring craft show was cancelled due to COVID,” she explained, “my fall one was in November, (but) I reached out to my spring crafters (to see) if they were interested in moving it outside on Oct. 3. … All of my crafters were excited to be outside to have the event, since there wasn’t much for them to do all summer long.”
The show featured more than 40 vendors who set their booths up in the fire department’s back parking lot, selling craft show staples such as wreaths, jewelry, soaps, candles and, in a sign of the times, decorative face coverings. A basket raffle was set up inside the fire hall.
Organizers were hoping “to catch up six months’ worth of loss in one day,” Cveykus said, explaining that the prohibition on many indoor events as a result of the pandemic meant no fundraisers could be held during the summer.
That “was extremely tough on the fire department,” she said.
Cveykus said the response from the public to Saturday’s event was “fantastic.” Many attendees donated money to the fire department.
One big draw was a booth selling hot dogs donated by Market Basket; buns were donated by Giant Eagle.
“It was non-stop, all day long,” she said. “Beautiful weather. I think people were just happy to be out, to see other people. The basket raffle inside was overwhelmed. People enjoyed that. … Guests are thanking me for having the event because they want to be out.”
Cveykus said fire department officials are currently waiting to see whether the department will be able to hold its turkey raffle as scheduled Nov. 7.
“We’re just hoping for a better 2021,” she said.
Mark Pesto is a reporter for The Tribune-Democrat. Follow him on Twitter at @MarkPesto.