The Waterford Foundation Board of Directors has announced the 76th Annual Waterford Fair will be held virtually this year, due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Originally planned for Oct. 2-4, the decision is based on Gov. Ralph Northam’s (D) directive and the Virginia Department of Health’s current recommendations, which have an uncertain end date, according to a statement from the foundation.
“After closely monitoring the CDC and state official’s advice, polling our artisans and vendors, and seeking the expertise of our county visitor’s bureau, the fair committee made the recommendation to the board to cancel the 2020 festival. We do not take this decision lightly. It is devastating to our budget and to that of our artisans, vendors, and many community partners, who rely on the fair as a major fundraiser,” Tracy Kirkman, director of the Waterford Fair, said in a prepared statement.
Juried fine craftsmen and artisans who were selected to participate in the 2020 festival will be automatically juried into the 2021 festival and can participate in the Virtual Waterford Fair.
“The festival depends on the work and passion of hundreds of artists, volunteers, vendors and Waterford residents, many who fall into the ‘at-risk’ category. These groups come together each year to showcase the beauty and history of the National Historic Landmark of Waterford, now celebrating its 50th anniversary, and to educate fairgoers on traditional arts and fine craft. While we are heartbroken about this decision, we feel it is the right decision for 2020,” Stephanie Thompson, executive director of the Waterford Foundation, said in a prepared statement.
While the board and staff consider how to help people connect with fair artists in the coming weeks, 2020 participating artisans are featured on the foundation’s online shop at waterfordfoundation.org/shop-our-artisans/.