In lieu of booths, Scarecrow in the Park creates online platform for vendors

  • This piece by Kelly Riley Design is one of those featured on Scarecrow in the Park’s new “Arts/Craft/Specialty Food Sale” Facebook page. Contributed Photo

  • Browning Brook Maple will be among the featured vendors on Scarecrow in the Park’s new “Arts/Craft/Specialty Food Sale” Facebook page. Contributed Photo

  • A holiday-themed quilt from Quilting by Ellen, one of the featured vendors on Scarecrow in the Park’s new “Arts/Craft/Specialty Food Sale” Facebook page. Contributed Photo

Staff Writer
Published: 10/14/2020 3:07:04 PM

BERNARDSTON — As a way to help artists who have been impacted by lost revenue from canceled or postponed summer fairs and festivals, this year’s Scarecrow in the Park will have an associated online art sale connecting artists and customers in advance of the holiday season.

Instead of setting up booths in Cushman Park, Scarecrow in the Park has launched a virtual “Arts/Craft/Specialty Food Sale” via Facebook. The page features various pieces and contact information for participating artists. (The traditional scarecrow contest will continue in Cushman Park. Scarecrows must be in place by noon on Friday.)

“The intention is to give artists and craftspeople a chance to recoup some portion of what they have lost during the festival season,” explained Scarecrow in the Park planning member Karen Stinchfield, who created the Facebook page.

While each vendor is unique when it comes to his or her products or artistic style, they all share the hardship brought on by the lasting public heath emergency. For example, after the pandemic struck, Bonny Grant wasn’t able to return to the Northampton studio where Bonny Grant Pottery has been for the past four years.

“I couldn’t make anything, let alone sell it,” she said.

Grant invested purchased her own kiln and pottery wheel, and set up a studio in her basement to get her hands dirty again. She sells pottery to Apex Orchards in Shelburne Falls, which then sells the individual pieces; has a website at; and is considering building an Etsy page. However, she said she is greatly impacted by the lack of festivals and craft fairs, as September, October and November are some of her busiest months of the year.

Similarly, Ellen Johnson of Quilting by Ellen said craft fairs are the only way she can sell her products without a storefront or online store. She usually attends five or six fairs in a season, and said it’s been tough to miss nearly a year’s worth of sales opportunities. Now located in Westmoreland, N.H., Johnson said she grew up in Franklin County and attends Scarecrow in the Park each year, saying it is often the “largest opportunity” for her quilts, wall hangings and table runners to be seen.

Bill and Betty Schneider of Browning Brook Maple in Colrain have been attending Scarecrow in the Park for years, and reunite with a lot of repeat customers at the annual event. While Bill Schneider hands out business cards with his information, he said this online platform will be a new way to reach customers.

Schneider said he usually supplies Brad’s Place in Greenfield with maple syrup wholesale, but like many restaurants they have had a slower year due to the pandemic and have not needed to buy as much as usual. To help move syrup, Schneider said they set up a pop-up shop of sorts at a relative’s home along Route 2 in Charlemont.

Paula Poirier of Paula’s Perennials in West Hartford, Conn. is known for her garden ornaments made from fine china and other plates. She said she has missed out on several opportunities to sell her pieces at festivals, church bazaars or school craft fairs this year.

“I keep making them though, because I love making them,” Poirier said.

While Paula’s Perennials has a Facebook page, Poirier said she doesn’t have her own website and is thankful to Stinchfield for creating an opportunity for vendors to connect with customers ahead of the holidays.

Zack DeLuca can be reached at or 413-930-4579.

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