“I think people in southern Oregon want to help each other, they’re not so much into buying from the big business places,” said vendor, Sue Owen.
During a time of uncertainty, the bazaar at the expo brings a familiar tradition: Christmas shopping.
“All of these folks who are in here are southern Oregon businesses, they’re from within our region. They’re from either Jackson, Josephine or Douglas counties,” said Jackson County Expo Director, Helen Funk.
Many people came out to shop local, while distancing and wearing masks.
“Thanks to all the various COVID restrictions, we get to have our normal holiday event outside in the Isola Arena. We normally have 100 vendors in the event center and this time we have 30,” Funk said.
Funk says expo staff are making sure only 250 people are in the arena at a time, following coronavirus guidelines for an outdoor event.
“The vendors, as well as the patrons, everyone coming through, they’re happy to wear their masks, they’re happy to stay socially distanced because they’re getting to actually be a part of this,” said Funk.
A part owner of the English Lavender Farm, Sue Owen, says she has been a vendor at the Holiday Bazaar for the last 7 years. “It means everything to be able to come out and do an event like this, where we can sell the things we’ve made all year, ready for Christmas.”
Owen says the lack of events throughout the year has been especially tough on people trying to sell their hand-crafted products.
“It’s not always easy for these type of businesses to translate online. A lot of customers want to pick up things made by hand and really examine them, and this is really the only time they can do that,” Owen said.
Funk says the expo is scheduled to hold a ‘Part 2’ of the Holiday Bazaar with 30 different vendors in December, but with Governor Kate Brown’s new 2-week restrictions set across the state, it’s unknown if the event will continue as planned.
“None of us love the mask, I get it, everything about it is tough. I don’t like it, but I’m going do it because I want us to get back to normal,” said Funk.
If you missed out on the 1st part of the Holiday Bazaar, Part 2 is currently scheduled for the weekend of December 4th.
Visit attheexpo.com for more information.