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Shaker Woods craft show continuing amid pandemic under new name

By changing the name and canceling live entertainment, the 10-acre outdoor event becomes a retail space, said county health officials.
unsplash stock woodcrafting
(Unsplash | Dominik Scythe)

COLUMBIANA — The Shaker Woods show is going on.

Though the Ohio Department of Health on Friday enacted an order effectively closing county and independent fairs to the public — the Canfield Fair made a similar move earlier this month — one of the state’s most popular craft shows is set to continue this year under a slew of new county-approved safety guidelines, as well as a new name.

The 39th Annual Shaker Woods Festival has changed its name to Shaker Woods Village, according to its website. The event is set for Aug. 8 to 9, Aug. 15 to 16 and Aug. 22 to 23 at 44331 Countyline Road. Ticket prices will be $8 per adult. Children 12 and younger get in free.

Columbiana County Health District officials said they've been working with organizers on a plan to ensure the open-air show is still safe and said organizers have gone "above and beyond."

District spokesperson Laura Fauss said by changing the name and canceling the 2020 show’s live entertainment, the about 10-acre Shaker Woods showgrounds becomes simply a retail setting, which aligns with state requirements.

“The only difference between that and [retail] stores is it’s in the woods and there are a bunch of people,” she said. “[Organizers] have been taking into account a lot of possible risk factors, and I think they’ve done a pretty good job.”

Guests, workers and retailers also will be required to wear masks, according to organizers.

During a Thursday briefing on the state's coronavirus response, the governor announced Columbiana County had been upgraded to the Level 2 “orange” alert phase under the state’s Public Health Advisory System.

According to ODH, Columbiana County has reported more than 50 new coronavirus infections per 100,000 people in the last two weeks, and more than half of its cases in the past three weeks were reportedly due to community spread and were recorded outside congregate settings like long-term care or correctional facilities, where spread is much more common.

The showgrounds will allow 3,200 people in at once, according to the show’s website, and that number includes event workers and the more than 200 juried craftspeople expected to be selling wares at the event. Fauss said the new occupancy limit is based on FEMA guidelines and the square footage of the showgrounds.

Organizers have a 15-person safety team to watch for violations. County inspectors also will  be on-site each day, at least to inspect food licensing, Fauss said — though she’s not sure if the county will dedicate inspectors to watch for pandemic violations.

“There’s a lot of focus on the owners and what the owners are going to do to reduce risk, but it’s really everybody’s responsibility to reduce the risk. The owners put in place protocols to meet the state guidance, but [the public has] to follow through on those protocols.”

Event organizers did not return calls from Mahoning Matters on Friday.

Here’s a full list of changes and increased protections at this year’s event, according to the Shaker Woods Village website:

  • Guests will not receive hand-stamping at the gate. They'll get wristbands that they must put on themselves.
  • Guests may not register for next year’s show.
  • All attendees, including guests, employees and retailers, must wear masks.
  • Two additional areas have been cleared for picnic tables, set six feet apart, making four picnic areas. Each will be supplied with a hand sink and two hand sanitizer stations. Staff are expected to clean each table after use.
  • Benches throughout the woods are set more than six feet apart. Staff are expected to wipe down benches throughout the day.
  • Ticket booths now feature plexiglass. Each employee has hand sanitizer and will wear gloves if recommended, and change them often.
  • The show will not feature live entertainment.
  • Retailers are required to follow state reopening guidelines for retail businesses. Coordinators are recommending all goods be placed outside booths and allow for social distancing. Retailers will have hand sanitizer at their booths. Maximum capacity levels per booth will be posted.
  • Food concession stands will follow state reopening guidelines for restaurants.
  • Signs posted at the village’s three gates inform guests they may not enter if they have symptoms of COVID-19. Reminders about social distancing will be posted throughout the woods.
  • Camper spaces will be available. Spaces will be marked to illustrate social distancing. Electric, water or dumping utilities will not be offered. All campers must be self-contained. A pumping service will be available for black and grey water.
  • Coordinators will be working with Columbiana County Health District.
  • The village has three entrances and exits. Only 3,200 people, including employees and retailers, will be permitted inside the fence at once. Staff are expected to count attendees and coordinate permittance.
  • An online map illustrates the village layout. It was also shared with county health officials.
  • A safety team of 15 employees will be onsite to ensure protocols are followed.

Justin Dennis

About the Author: Justin Dennis

Justin Dennis has been on the beat since 2011, covering crime, courts and public education. Dennis grew up in Poland and Salem and studied journalism and communications at Cleveland State University and University of Pittsburgh.
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