In the interest of public health and safety during the COVID-19 pandemic, the organizers of two of Loudoun’s longest running annual community festivals have made the tough call to not hold the events this fall.
The Waterford Foundation Board of Directors voted this week to cancel the 2020 Waterford Fair, originally planned for Oct. 2-4. This would have been the 76th year for the celebration of Americana, one of the longest running craft festivals in the U.S.
“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,” said Fair Director Tracy Kirkman.
Organizers are hoping to support the juried fine craftsmen and artisans who were selected to participate in the festival with the first ever Virtual Waterford Fair, the details of which are bring worked out. In the meantime, participating artisans are featured on the Foundation’s online shop at https://www.waterfordfoundation.org/shop-our-artisans/.
“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,” Foundation Executive Director Stephanie Thompson, Executive Director said.
It would have been the 51st year for the Bluemont Fair, which had been scheduled for Sept. 19-20.
Organizers noted a tradition of holding the festival regardless of weather or other extraordinary circumstances, including numerous hurricanes, copious mud, fallen trees on the main street, and loss of electricity. The fair was even held the weekend following the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, which provided residents with a much-appreciated distraction from the sorrow and fears of the time.
However, the world-wide pandemic, and its threat of serious—even fatal—illness, has proved insurmountable, organizers said.
For more information or inquiries about Bluemont Fair, go to www.bluemontfair.org.