Virtual Ashfield Fall Festival will support local artisans and scholarship fund

  • Ashfield Fall Festival T-shirts are available online. There are two designs to choose from, available on T-shirts, long-sleeve shirts and sweatshirts in a variety of sizes and colors. Contributed Photo

  • A piece by Helen Uprichard Jewelry, one of the vendors selling their wares as part of this year’s virtual Ashfield Fall Festival. Contributed Photo

  • Artist Lois Barber is one of many vendors and artists featured with the virtual Ashfield Fall Festival. Pictured is her drawing “Birdz of a Feather.” Contributed Photo

  • A piece from Maya Machin Pottery, an art studio in Ashfield, which will be featured alongside other artists and vendors as part of the virtual Ashfield Fall Festival. Contributed Photo

Staff Writer
Published: 9/29/2020 1:49:10 PM

ASHFIELD — While a full Ashfield Fall Festival may have been canceled this year, residents can still connect with local artisans, and purchase products from some of their favorite vendors online.

The annual festival typically draws hundreds of attendees and offers arts and crafts exhibits, locally grown and prepared foods, live music and dancing, the Pumpkin Games, children’s activities, and book and tag sales. The festival is expected to return in full force next year, in October of 2021, but organizers still wanted to find a way to support local artisans and connect them with their neighbors and potential customers this year.

In the meantime, Fall Festival Planning Committee Secretary Laura Stravino said committee members created an online platform for festival vendors:

“When the Ashfield Fall Festival committee announced in late May that the 2020 festival was canceled due to COVID-19, its vendor coordinators received feedback from artists, town organizations and other vendors sympathetic to the decision,” Stavino said.

Still, they also heard ideas about what could be done instead. Subsequent conversations among organizers led to the “Virtual Fall Festival 2020: Support Our Vendors” website that provides links to participating artists and organizations. Products will also be promoted on Fall Festival social media pages. The joint social media campaign and website will see the full roster of vendors included on one page, with a new vendor featured each day of the month, beginning Thursday, Oct. 1.

“Even though COVID-19 forced us to cancel the in-person 2020 Ashfield Fall Festival, we are excited to still be able to feature some of the favorite festival arts vendors on our website, Facebook and new Instagram pages,” said Jen Smith, arts and crafts coordinator for the Ashfield Fall Festival. “By visiting us online, people can learn more about each artist’s work, potentially make appointments or purchases through their individual websites, or contact resources.”

Visual arts, farm products, jewelry, functional hand-crafted objects, pottery, clothing and more can be found at, or by visiting the pages on Facebook ( and Instagram (@ashfieldfallfestival).

“In a time where it’s unsafe to gather in large groups, we strive to continue to support our vendors’ work and services with the broader community in a safer, yet effective way,” Smith said.

As part of the virtual festival, a new line of Ashfield Fall Festival shirts is being launched. Proceeds from sales of the shirts will go directly to the Fall Festival Scholarship Fund. In a typical year, donations from parking fees and a portion of proceeds from arts and crafts exhibitors, food vendors and other participants provide the funding for these need-based scholarships, which are awarded by the non-profit Ashfield Citizens Scholarship & Community Fund.

The shirts are available online via Bonfire, at There are two designs to choose from, available on T-shirts, long-sleeve shirts and sweatshirts in a variety of sizes and colors.

In addition to the virtual festival offerings, the First Congregational Church of Ashfield will hold a fundraiser in tandem with the local farmers market on Saturday mornings. According to Wendy Pree, church clerk, any proceeds from purchases will benefit the First Congregational Church of Ashfield, which has taken a financial hit after being unable to hold services or host fundraisers over the last several months. She said nearly 10 percent of the annual church budget goes toward mission activities, as well as a usual contribution to the Ashfield Citizens Scholarship & Community Fund.

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

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