Virtual Craftworkers Guild harvest fair open online through Oct. 12

BEDFORD – While the Craftworkers’ Guild is physically located in the historic Oliver Kendall House, situated behind the Bedford Public Library, this year’s event will be held virtually, Oct. 1 – 12.

Carol Davis, co-president of the Craftworkers’Guild, said the guild has been in existence since 1900. And this year, with the pandemic, the harvest fair, normally held in their shop in Bedford, will go “live” with a virtual sales event featuring some 35 different crafters.

“Our habit has been to do three regular in-person fairs a year,” Davis said. “We normally have a schedule that involves two weeks before Columbus Day, to catch all the leaf peepers; a full month between Thanksgiving and Christmas; and two weeks before Mother’s Day.”

This year, COVID-19 has forced the craftworkers’ to get creative so they’ve built a website with a storefront and a cart and checkout option so shoppers can still purchase craftworker goods for the fall show.

“With the situation, we decided not to hold a spring event,” Davide said. “It was just too risky for our members, our friends, our customers. So, we cancelled the event in the spring all together last spring and over the summer, we said, ‘It looks like it’s going to be a long haul.'”

Instead, they began planning over the last few months to hold a virtual fair so that their crafters and devotees could still enjoy all the perks of the fair without the health risks.

Davis said that gave crafters time to create new things and replenish their inventories.

“This is strictly a virtual event,” she reminded. “But this is not going to be a ‘live’ event live in the sense that it’s a marathon. We are going to ‘open’ on Oct. 1 and people can shop until Oct. 12 when it ends. We are going to open up when our fair would normally open.”

People can shop at www.thecraftworkersguild.org., and there visitors will see a welcome sign that says, “Click here to shop.”

“We have opted to use Shopify which is full-featured,” Davis said. “We’re able to present lovely photographs of people’s work with comprehensive descriptions. People just click to buy and virtually any form of payment is accepted. It’s like ordinary shopping for people that shop online all the time.”

The one difference is that there will be no shipping; items purchased will be made available for curbside pickup at the shop located at 3A Meetinghouse Road in Bedford.

“We are working very hard that we don’t have any glitches in the system,” David said. “We want it to work perfectly for folks. So, we decided not to include a shipping option. We are only marketing to people from this area.”

The concept is once you’ve purchased an item, that item will be ready for pickup at the shop within 24 hours/the next day.

“People make their purchase and that information is sent to the folks working in the shop,” Davis said. “The merchandise will then be bagged and ready for pickup between our normal hours of 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. The other thing is once the order is bagged, our website manager will send an email to the customer saying their order is ready.”

Folks can pull up outside the building and there will be a special parking place and a phone number.

“Once we get the call inside the house, we’ll bring their package outside,” Davis said. “Folks can have their merchandise brought to them by handing it out the door, we can leave it for them on a table and they can get out of their car and grab it, or whatever folks are more comfortable with.”

Although there are 75 or so members of the guild, 35 members/crafters will be participating this year.

For more information, visit their website or call 603-472-8109.