Town of Eclectic event coordinator Carmen Winslett said she is glad to see Second Saturdays return.
“This is a great social event for the community,” Winslett said. “Some people do not get out of their house but for our Second Saturday. It’s really a community-building event.”
The town brought back Second Saturdays three years ago as a way to involve the community, but Winslett said recent setbacks due to COVID-19 have resulted in low attendance last month and Saturday.
“We had a full house of vendors and we were a little light on shoppers this time,” Winslett said. “Last month, we were a little light on vendors and heavy on shoppers. I’m still working to get it together with a lot of vendors and a lot of shoppers on the same day.”
Winslett said the town wants to grow the event.
“We are still trying to grow it and make sure we have a consistent number of vendors,” she said. “For our vendors to return, we need people to come out and shop. Shoppers do not want to go where nobody is vending. It is trying to find that balance.”
Back Yard Boutique owner Debbie Wetherill started her business just before COVID-19 slowed down retail spending.
She is selling online and at popup events only.
Wetherill said she is glad to see Eclectic offer a venue where retailers can set up and sell to customers.
“We get to get out and meet people,” she said. “We’ve been stuck at home. Just getting our name out there and being outside helps.”
The new business owner has plans to sell at other outdoor events in the coming weeks.
“We are looking at selling at three or four more events in the next six weeks,” Wetherill said. “We have actually only done two popup events.”
Winslett said the town charges vendors $10 for each booth space.
“This is a community event,” she said. “We want to make it reasonable for our vendors. We appreciate them for their participation.”
Winslett said the town plans to host its annual Cotton Festival, which is usually its biggest event of the year, scheduled to take place Oct. 10.
“People need this event to get out of the house and socialize,” she said. “They are going to want to be with their friends and Cotton Festival is not the thing to give up for the Town of Eclectic this year.”
She said not as many vendors have signed up to participate this year when compared to last year.
“I figure they will come rolling in as people are more comfortable,” she said.
She said the town does not have plans to sell sponsorships to the Cotton Festival this year.
“We would love to have sponsors, but with what everybody has gone through I am not asking any businesses to sponsor the event,” she said. “We did great last year. We did great the year before. We will fund Cotton Fest this year without sponsorships if needed.”
Winslett said current plans for the annual event are the same as last year.
“It is highly unlikely we will change the plans for Cotton Festival,” she said. “It is hard to tell what the regulations will be at that point.”
She said there will be an area for kids; all food vendors will set up in the parking lot located next to Eclectic Town Hall; live entertainment will be staged in front of town hall; and there will be a car show.
“We’ve got small changes we are making, but the overall set up will be the same,” she said. “I think by that point we will be in good shape and through COVID-19.”