SH art fair photo

The South Haven Center for the Arts’ annual art fair is not only a popular draw for local residents and visitors, it also is one of the art center’s biggest fundraising events. COVID-19 health restrictions have forced cancellation of the event for the second year in a row. This photo shows the Tipsy Art Studio booth at 2017’s art fair.

For the second year in a row the popular South Haven Art Fair will be canceled due to the ongoing pandemic.

“The center’s board of directors and staff decided to cancel out of an abundance of caution for the South Haven community,” said Kerry Hagy, executive director of the art center. “The fair typically takes months to plan and involves artists from more than 20 states, hundreds of volunteer and staff hours, and thousands of visitors. With the uncertainty of what will be both legally allowed and medically advisable in July, the constraints to planning our event for this summer are too many.”

The annual art fair, which takes place the first weekend of July, not only attracts several thousand people to Stanley Johnston Park, it also serves as the art center’s biggest fundraising event and provides income for the many artists who display and sell their work.

“The South Haven Center for the Arts shares the concern and heartache of the artists that continue to be affected by the COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting event cancellations,” Hagy said. “We would like to encourage our members and community to patronize artists as much as possible this summer and the coming year.”

The cancellation of this year’s art fair marks the second Fourth of July holiday event to be nixed in South Haven due to the pandemic.

In March, South Haven city officials canceled the Light up the Lake fireworks show, an event that attracts upwards of 50,000 spectators.

“The annual fireworks show brings thousands of spectators to the city’s waterfront,” City Manager Kate Hosier said in a previous interview. “The decision to cancel was based solely on concerns over safety, especially with the size of crowds.”

Fears associated with the ongoing spread of the pandemic also forced the cancellation of another popular summer event – Harborfest. This year’s three-day festival would have taken place during Father’s Day weekend in June.

While the Harborfest committee chose to cancel this year’s event, another South Haven-based organization is going ahead with one of its summertime events.

The Michigan Flywheelers Museum’s board of directors announced Monday that the annual outdoor Swap Meet & Flea Market will take place June 11-12 at the museum grounds in Geneva Township.

“So far, the health department hasn’t told us of any restrictions as far as vendors because we have enough space that they can spread out,” said Patrick Ingalls, president of the Flywheelers board of directors. “We won’t know about crowd size until we get closer to June.”

The event typically attracts more than 100 vendors. In 2019, the last time the Swap Meet took place, 160 vendors displayed their wares. A fundraiser for the museum, proceeds are used for operational costs as well as building and equipment restoration projects.

“We never know what type of items are going to be sold during this,” explained Ingalls. “But there usually is a wide variety of things for sale.”