The New York Sheep & Wool Festival.

Concerns about COVID-19 have caused craft industry event organizers to cancel shows throughout the spring and summer. Now, show cancelations are also being announced for the fall and winter season. Some events are going virtual while others are being postponed until next year.

Yesterday, the New York State Sheep & Wool Festival, one of the largest annual gatherings of fiber-arts enthusiasts in the United States, announced it would cancel the in-person show for 2020. The show, which is held at the Dutchess County Fairgrounds in Rhinebeck, New York, will have a virtual festival. More details about the virtual event will be released in the coming weeks. The decision was made by the board of the Dutchess County Sheep and Wool Growers Association which organizes the event.

Approximately 30,000 people from all over the country, and the world, attend Rhinebeck each year. Festival Manager Nena Johnson told us by phone today, “It was an ongoing discussion by the board over the past several weeks. I know October can seem a long way off, but it just felt hard to imagine being able to have the same festival we’re all used to, with those crowded barns.” She noted that the Maryland Sheep & Wool Festival hosted a virtual event this spring, as did Vogue Knitting Live, and by making the decision to cancel Rhinebeck now the board will have enough time to learn from these two events and put on a quality online festival.

AQS QuiltWeek – Fall Paducah 2018, Janome America Best of Show Winner, “For Such a Time as This” by Kathy K. Wylie.

Also yesterday, the American Quilter’s Society (AQS) announced that it would be canceling all in-person shows through the end of 2020. This includes Lancaster – the Nook (August 5-7), the Grand Rapids show (August 19-22), the Paducah show (September 2-5), and the Charleston show (September 30-October2). In a letter sent to members, friends, vendors, and supporters, AQS president Meredith Schroeder wrote, “This is not an easy decision for us or one that we have taken lightly. We cannot ignore the advice of our governmental leaders or the global health community, and we recognize the hardship that this decision will create for our valued vendors, sponsors, and visitors.”

AQS will issue refunds and credits to those registered for the 2020 shows. It intends to complete that process by July 15. The organization does not plan to host virtual shows. The Spring 2021 shows are still scheduled to take place on schedule and in-person including Daytona Beach which will be held February 24-27.

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