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New West Craft on the move to Tipperary Park

The first in-person artisan market of the COVID-19 era will take place, with social distancing protocols in place, on Saturday, July 4
New West Craft
Shoppers browse at a New West Craft event at the Quay last summer. The artisan market is now moving to Tipperary Park to offer special socially distanced events that meet COVID-19 health and safety regulations.

New West Craft is getting set to be the first craft market in B.C. to relaunch following four months of COVID-19 cancellations.

On Saturday, July 4, the market will move to a new location at Tipperary Park for its first artisan market since March 7.

New West Craft has been a familiar summer sight on the boardwalk at River Market for the past five years, but a press release from the group notes that physical distancing requirements make that location a no-go.

Instead, they’re following the lead of the New West Farmers Market, which has been operating at Tipperary Park successfully under COVID-19 guidelines since April.

The farmers market and the City of New Westminster have created a model for events that adheres to provincial health and safety regulations, so New West Craft has been working with the city to adapt that model to fit their artisan markets.

New West Craft is presented by the Arts Council of New Westminster, which remains committed to its mission to support artists and artisans.

The press release notes that, while the arts council’s executive director Stephen O'Shea and board of directors have been running a successful fundraising campaign, program coordinator Laura Grady has been busy developing safe, in-person programming that will benefit both the community and local artists and artisans.

"I am really happy to be restarting our artisan markets," Grady said in the release. "New West Craft and the artists and artisans we work with have become a part of our community. During this pandemic and time of isolation, we understand the value of art and creativity more than ever. It is essential that we continue to support local makers, artists and small business owners. Relaunching New West Craft offers the community an easy and accessible way to support local."

Despite the changes, Grady is confident the market can maintain its intimate and welcoming environment. There will be 30 artisan stalls set up in Tipperary Park, plus two food trucks. As per provincial guidelines, 50 people will be let in to the market space at a time, and two-metre physical distancing will be enforced.

"We want to create an event where the public and our participants feel safe," Grady said. "We will provide hand wash stations. There will be a carefully managed entrance and exit to our fenced-off market and clearly marked standing points to maintain proper distancing. Each vendor has been provided with a detailed list of protocols to follow."

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