44th Aiken’s Makin crafts festival moves virtual

Published: Sep. 14, 2020 at 12:00 AM EDT
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On Friday and Saturday, Park Avenue in downtown Aiken would have been filled with crafter’s and shoppers. However, the 44th Annual Aiken’s Makin craft show was cancelled due to Coronavirus concerns.

As David Jamieson, the CEO of Aiken Chamber of Commerce stood on Park Avenue, he thought about the hundreds of tents and thousands of people that would have been at the show.

“There was always hope that something would happen the next week, that would give us a different picture, and that we could go back to the drawing board and plan another scenario" he said. "Finally the reality was, we weren’t going to have it.”

The cancellation of Aiken’s Makin and other festivals have put a hole in crafter’s pockets.

Dawn Cawart owns Vintage Rose Design Co. Cawart was looking forward to selling her custom Tumbler’s at Aiken’s Makin for the first time.

“During the initial lock down, I saw an uptick of like double my sales for two months which was great." She said. “Then it immediately went down. Generally for September I wouldn’t do a whole lot, which was one of the reasons I was really excited about going to Aiken’s Makin.”

Kenneth Neilsen owns Cary Pottery he has also seen a big drop in sales this year.

“I mean our sales are down by probably more than 60%” he said.

Instead of stopping the event altogether, The Aiken Chamber of Commerce launched a new portion of their website dedicated to the 200 crafter’s that would have been at the event.

“We did it primarily to help our folks find the crafter’s that they look for. But we also did the inverse because the crafter’s have had a terrible year. Show, after show, after show has been cancelled and for most of them this is their livelihood” said Jamieson.

Neilsen has seen a few more sales and he believes the website has worked.

“It could be that you know, people have been able to contact us by seeing us on the, the Aiken’s Makin website and tracked us down and we may have been able to make some sales that way” he said.

Both Neilsen and Cawart say they’re thankful for the help, but they’re disappointed in losing out on the experience.

“It’s given me a lot to think about as far as like, how much I love traveling and going back and forth to the shows it’s really enjoyable” said Cawart.

“We kind of consider when we do shows, like a mini vacation. We get to see a different city, or different town, or eat at different restaurants, you know, whereas we’re missing out on that as well” said Neilsen.

You can still check out and shop from all 200 crafter’s here.

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