How could we produce the annual Festival of Light fundraiser within COVID-19 protocols? How do we hold a bake sale, hot lunch, Dutch auction, and invite vendors to sell their gift items, and include the children’s music recital when we can’t congregate in a large hall?
Organizers gathered for an online meeting and realized that, for the first time in 13 years, we had to cancel. Then the Arts Council’s new Assistant Director, Maggie Alvord, said “I have an idea! It may seem crazy, un-doable, but just listen to my idea. What if we do it virtually? I think that, with Taylor Aglipay’s help to produce this, we could bring the event to people through Facebook LIVE and YouTube.
“And,” exclaimed Maggie, “we could add a donation link to the posts so that people could generously donate.”
The screen froze. Susan Hazard scratched her jaw, thinking “sounds interesting.” Julie Feely and Susan Alexander wondered how the vendors could interact in a FB live production. How would they show and sell their gifts?
Jill Richards’ eyes popped as she groaned about the massive undertaking to create and publicize this in only one month. “I can see bringing vendors into a production with prepared video, but our primary fundraising is through the bake sale, hot soup and Dutch auction. Can’t do that virtually,” Jill said as she threw ice water on the idea.
But Elizabeth Watson and Pam Yearwood would not be iced out. They decided we could invite U-Rok Bakery to provide the food and provide a COVID-safe environment at Barking Mad Art Studio on Main Street.
“If we promote it widely, people will come! said Elizabeth, Pam, Maggie and the four Susans. “So we have one month, and a boatload of work to do to pull this off. And, it is supposed to snow!”
Well, we did it!
Mother Nature ignored the snow warnings and provided good weather. Maggie and Taylor created a bank of fantastic video performances by children, vendors, and an insightful interview of the founders of the event, Elizabeth and Pam. The videos were combined to provide an interesting 90-minute view into our Trinity arts community. The production is now available on Trinity County Arts YouTube for your viewing.
Jai Waggoner served some of the most delicious and savory soups we’ve ever tasted, warming our souls. And, few could resist leaving without fresh baked scones, bagels, bread or cookies.
The valiant team of committed Arts Council board members created a festive environment for the in-person hot soup lunch and bake sale and the 34 Dutch auction gifts. The Dutch auction continues to grow in art donations. We will be selling auction tickets through 3 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 28, when we will draw winners.
But most important, our supportive Trinity community joined us to make our first virtual crafts festival and fundraiser a success. You brought warmth and kindness (and your donations!) in support of art and music lessons for our children.
Barking Mad Art Studio had a steady stream of joyous people purchasing food and tickets. You joined us on Trinity County Arts Alive Facebook and commented during the production, letting us know that we were not alone.
Thanks to all of you, and the spectacular support from The Trinity Journal, we had a successful event and generated the funding to provide art and music scholarships to local kids under the age of 18.
Our vision to expand the art and music lessons program to include all children interested in experiencing a craft or instrument will require increased donations from generous businesses and people. But, this event provided a start.
If you are interested in accessing our scholarships for your children, download an application from our website: trinitycountyarts.org / Program / Art & Music Lessons-kids and email it to email@example.com or call Jill at the Arts Council, 623-2760.