News and Opinion from Sisters, Oregon

Street fair adapts to COVID-19 rules

People enjoyed the last days of summer in downtown Sisters on Labor Day weekend browsing through a variety of arts and crafts for the 13th annual Sisters Fall Street Festival held at Oak and Main Avenue.

Vendors could operate by preparing and following a COVID-19 safety plan.

Event Organizer Richard Esterman said, “I know about all the COVID-19 requirements and we are following them. I was raised that if an obstacle is in front of you, you overcome it, and there’s nothing that you can’t overcome. We just move forward. We can still do events; let’s not all hide in the closet.”

He added, “I fought really hard for this and found that events can be done with some extra creativity. I used common sense; I have one-way aisles with arrows, have sign-in sheets, sanitizer stations, social distancing and mask signs throughout the event.

“I’m showing that it can be done right, so other event promoters can say, ‘Hey, we can do this.’”

Robert Reyes, a regular vendor at Esterman’s Central Oregon Shows, is enthusiastic to be back outdoors selling Bakke Brothers Jerky.

Reyes said, “This is the first show I’ve done since the first of March. All my other gigs have been canceled. It’s been rough and I haven’t had any income other than a few online sales. I didn’t monitor it as much as the shows because normally we have samples for what we sell and now we can’t do that. This is a gourmet product. It’s not your average jerky that you buy in the grocery store. Most people want a sample to try it and see if they like it.”

Riley Sheets, one of the event staff from Crater Lake Spirits in Bend, was offering small bottles of hand sanitizer to patrons stopping at the booth.

She said, “We are the spirit of adventure. And now we make a street fair sanitizer and we’re giving out little complimentary bottles. That was probably our biggest change going through COVID. We are also making sure that when we are going to events, we have enough so that we can serve people a little better in that way.”

Hannah Moncham, marketing assistant, added, “Our tasting room is open in Bend. We’re doing our typical tastings, with a course in pre-sanitation, everybody’s required to have masks on and as long as they’re seated at the table, they can take their masks off. We’re still fully operational with that.”

Prineville resident Joel Dunaway, Clay Dragon Pottery owner, was a first-time vendor at Sisters Street Fair.

He noted, “My wife and I have actually been here throughout the whole summer. We’ve been vendors at the Sisters Farmer’s Market.

“We’ve been compliant as far as the mask and we have sanitizer. We’re small town. So, we’re naturally distanced from other people. I’ve got some customers in Portland that I’ve talked to and it’s definitely a difficult situation there, but here I think we can be safe and do business here.”

Dunaway has had a passion for pottery since the seventh grade. But his craft really kicked off in college with a ceramics class.

“I went into it, wanting to do it, you know, one of those attitudes, and I went three years in college with two apprenticeships, had my own studio for a while, and another career for a few decades. And now, this is my career for the rest of the years.”

Brent and Missy Taylor, owners of Cabin Creek Log Furniture & Designs have also joined the team of vendors at Sisters Farmers Market.

Missy noted, “We’ve been doing the summer markets and we’ve been at a farmer’s market in Bend Northwest Crossing. We’ve been lucky enough to get into Sisters Farmer’s Market.”

Brent added, “They gave us the stage in Fir Street Park because there were no spaces left. And we’re pretty happy with that.”

“We’ve been getting by with these little shows,” Missy said. “This was our first and only art show this year, but we’re managing.”

Local scratchboard artist Jennifer Hartwig’s booth showcased her stunning artistic talent.

“This is such a wonderful thing to have right now,” she told The Nugget. “I jumped on this show really quick. So right now, during COVID, a lot of my meat-and-potatoes business is creating dog portraits. So, surprisingly enough I haven’t lost business on that. I’ve also been able to receive the PUA (Pandemic Unemployment Assistance) through the unemployment for my business. This Street Fair will be my first real foray in a sales situation.”


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