By Mary O’KEEFE
The Montrose Arts and Crafts Festival was held this past weekend and by all accounts was one of the most successful events to date.
“Everything went really well,” said Dee Ovenden, Arts and Crafts coordinator.
Despite the heat, an estimated 25,000 people strolled along Honolulu Avenue enjoying the 300 vendors and food booths that participated in the annual event.
“It is really growing,” Ovenden said. “We had a steady crowd. It was less on Saturday but on Sunday we almost doubled [the visitors].”
“One of our fellow volunteers said it was the smoothest [Arts and Crafts Festival] we had ever had as far as getting everyone [set up],” said Dale Dawson, Montrose Shopping Park Association (MSPA) executive director.
MSPA sponsored the two-day event. It sponsors several special events that bring thousands of people to Montrose each year. This year – Montrose’s 100th anniversary – association members are making a concentrated effort to invite and encourage shoppers to go beyond the special event to get to know the brick-and mortar-businesses as well.
“We tied in a merchant promotional offer,” Dawson said as a way to entice visitors.
Customers who brought receipts from local stores to the MSPA information booth received a gift. The item given was dependent on how much was spent locally.
“It went really well. In the two days we saw from 60 to 75 people who received promotional [gifts],” said Linda McMenamin, events coordinator/marketplace manager for MSPA.
She added that a few customers brought receipts of over $600, making the event positive for both the vendors and local merchants.
The importance of keeping it local and having a standard of what defines “arts and crafts” is something all coordinating parties agree on. Ovenden will now begin planning next year’s event, including making sure vendors that are invited are not commercial and keep with the arts and crafts style.
“Some vendors that are too commercial will not be invited back,” Ovenden said.
The event highlighted the small town and community that are important to MSPA. That feeling spread not only to visitors, but also was shared by vendors.
“As the vendors left, they said, ‘See you next year,’” Dawson said. “That’s nice to hear.”