The Village of Homewood is juggling its approach to this year's slate of summer festivals because of COVID-19 restrictions that prohibit large gatherings until Gov. J.B. Pritzker moves the state into Phase 5 of the Restore Illinois plan.
Among the necessary changes is a reduced version of the Homewood Artisan Street Fair renamed the Artisan Street Market on June 4 and 5.
Hours for the Market will be noon to 6 p.m. on Friday, June 4, and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday, June 5. The market will be on Martin Avenue from Ridge Road to Hickory Road and on Hickory from Harwood Avenue to Dixie Highway.
Traditionally, the artisan event offers a wide variety of food, but this year the focus will be more on artists and local restaurants, according to event coordinator Lisa Komoroski.
“Essentially it’s the same event – just pared down a little bit,” said Komoroski.
Allisa Opyd, Homewood’s village events manager, said the artisan market will have the same safety protocols for COVID-19 as the village's farmer’s market. Customers will be maintaining six feet of distance at each booth, a mask mandate for adults will be in place and safety guidelines will be posted throughout the market.
“To maintain the safety guidelines, we are unable to offer crafts for children or live music,” said Opyd. “Tables and chairs will be cleaned after each use. And [there will be] timed seating so all will have the opportunity to sit and enjoy their food.”
Komoroski said there will recorded, background music.
“There will be food, but it’s not going to be the same setup,” said Komoroski. “You’re allowed to eat in the food court, but you’re not allowed to have food or drinks walking through the market because you need to wear a mask."
“What we would love to happen is for local restaurants to have space there first. And if there’s any space left over, we’ll open it up" to other food trucks, restaurants and vendors in the area, Komoroski explained.
Echoing this sentiment, Opyd said, “The pandemic has negatively affected the restaurant industry, and we want to support our independent restaurants at Homewood’s Artisan Street Market.”
Komoroski said there will be about 80 vendors at the Artisan Street Market, but there won’t be anything there that will require long lines. All vendors will be required to have hand sanitizer available, Opyd said.
“The positive to come out of this [safe] COVID market is that the focus will totally be on the artists instead of the bands and the afterparty,” said Komoroski. “And everything pretty much is handmade and handcrafted by local artists.”
As far as other local events are concerned, Opyd said Homewood’s Giant Block Party won't be happening.
The traditional Fourth of July parade is canceled again this year out of concerns for the public's safety.
“We did not feel it was safe having a gathering of spectators viewing the parade," Opyd explained. "However, we are in the process of creating a Back to School parade for students. We have scheduled the parade for Sunday, Aug. 15.”
Opyd said Fall Fest is scheduled for Sept. 25, and Holiday Lights is scheduled for Dec. 3. However, she said it’s possible events may be canceled if Gov. J.B. Pritzker hasn’t approved the transition to Phase 5 of the Restore Illinois Plan by then.
Miracle on Martin is scheduled for Dec. 11. However, if Illinois isn’t in Phase 5 by then, there won’t be any carriage rides, s’mores and bon fire, Opyd said. There will be an ice sculpture walk in downtown Homewood, though.
“I am unsure what the events will look like at this point. We are still in a very fluid situation with information changing day to day. However, we are working on the programming of the events,” Opyd said.