For more than 40 years, the Holly Arts Festival in the Village of Pinehurst has marked the unofficial start of the Christmas season for those looking to buy hand-crafted gifts. Now, organizers of this family event are trying to follow social distancing guidelines as it applies for a special permit from the Village of Pinehurst.
While it is not certain that the event will be held, Katrin Franklin, Pinehurst Business Partners President, is working hard to come up with ways to continue the tradition. “Many of our brick and mortar businesses lost all revenue for 40 days, and our restaurants are still at half capacity. I think having this event in some ways is necessary for the community,” said Franklin.
In a presentation to the Village Council Tuesday night, Franklin proposed a scaled-down plan that would cut the number of vendors from 200 to 100, separate booths to avoid congregation and use different areas within the downtown district, all to follow state guidelines for large outdoor gatherings.
Organizers have even gone as far as renaming the event to the Holly Arts and Crafts Market, dropping the word festival because of the different nature of the event. Gone from the plan are normal food trucks and kid’s activities. Traditionally, it has been held on the third Saturday in October.
Mark Wagner, Pinehurst Parks and Recreation Director said, “I think they have done a good job separating out the booths as best they can and limiting how many people we would have gathering. That is where our biggest challenge will be.” Wagner is working with the Moore County Health Department trying to find a way to gain their approval.
“I can tell you I am committed to having something,” said council member Kevin Drum. “I just don’t know what it is.”
The Village Council will consider the issue at the next meeting on October 8.
~Written by Sandhills Sentinel Reporter John Patota.