Fall was in the air and inside the Cross Street Commerce Center on Saturday, Oct. 10 during the Spruce Pine Fall Festival.
Festival organizer Christy Edwards said that while the purpose of the festival was to bring the “fall spirit” to the area, it was also to help support small business owners and crafters who have been hurt by the pandemic.
“We have so many local artists and crafters who need to have this event to help sell their items during this time,” Edwards said. “I have a small business and I’m a crafter, too, so I know there’s a need for this.”
The festival had more than 40 vendors selling an array of fall-themed items, like ceramic pumpkins, dish towels and hand-made jewelry.
Edwards made sure to incorporate safety precautions to keep vendors and festival attendees safe, including temperature checks as people entered, required face coverings and the spacing out of vendors.
“We’re just trying to keep people as safe as possible while letting them interact with people and support these local crafters,” Edwards said.
Elaine Boone, Edward’s mother, had a booth at the festival where she was selling items she has collected over the years, like pottery and fall-themed decorations
“I’m a retired teacher from Yancey County and I have collected all my life,” Boone said. “I’m at a point in my life where I need to downsize, so I’m selling my things, like my pottery, because I’m downsizing where I live.”
Boone said craft festivals like Fall Fest have an immense impact on the small businesses who attend them.
“It’s very important for all of these crafters,” Boone said. “I walked around this morning and this is the first show that some of these people have been able to take part in, so shows like these right now can really help with the burden that COVID has had.”
Festival attendee Lisa Morse decided to come to the festival with her friends who were celebrating a girls’ weekend. Morse, who recently moved to Yancey County, said the festival provided a safe way to get some retail therapy and support the local community.
“I think this gives people a sense of normalcy and gets people involved with the community when people have been so isolated,” Morse said. “It’s great to be able to interact with people in a safe way.”
The festival moved to Spruce Pine this year due to the ongoing pandemic. In the past, the festival has been held at the Burnsville Town Center which has not re-opened to the public yet.