OQUOSSOC — The Outdoor Heritage Museum in Oquossoc will host a craft and antique sale at its Fall Fest on Saturday, September 26, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Museum Executive Director Bill Pierce organized this first time event out of response to the limited outlets vendors currently have access to for selling their wares.

“These poor people, I’m telling ya, they’ve had an awful rough year with not a lot of places to sell their goodies,” Pierce said during a phone interview in regards to canceled craft fairs due to COVID-19. 

New Vineyard resident Doreen Swain, one of the Fall Fest’s 15 vendors, maintains an Etsy site for her cards, switch plates and candles made with flower pressings. Even with an online shop, Swain said that craft fairs still make up the majority of her sales.

Swain has been crafting with pressed flowers from the perennials and annuals in her garden and from foraged wildflowers such as queen anne’s lace, buttercups and black eyed susans for 20 years. She described her craft as more of a hobby than an income and craft fairs as places that add a lot of joy to her life.

“It’s a long process between growing and harvesting and pressing, and then organizing and creating. It takes a long time, but I love it,” Doreen Swain said about her flower pressed cards and switch plates. Swain will be one of the vendors at the Outdoor Heritage Museum’s Fall Fest on September 26. Photo Courtesy of Doreen Swain

I love selling to talk with people and I love creating, and its just been such a fun experience for me to do it and not so fun with masks; but we do what we have to. It’ll come to an end someday,” Swain said in a phone interview. “We won’t be having to go through this, and I’ve actually been enjoying a lot of my summertime off because I haven’t had to be as busy and I’ve been able to spend more time in my garden, so that’s actually been a good plus too.”

The bulk of Swain’s craft fairs take place in the fall and winter leading up to the holidays. She would typically participate in a fair every weekend in November and one weekend in December. So far, all but one has been canceled.

Antique collector from New Sharon, Cheryl Schanz specifically focuses on the Rangeley market by curating rustic camp items such as old traffic and realty signs, framed prints of historical places in Rangeley, refurbished L.L. Bean Boots, wool hunter’s clothing and vintages clothes.

“I have one big yard sale in the spring and I do the antique shows up in Rangeley from two to three shows every year,” Schanz said in a phone interview. “I’ve been doing that probably for 10 years.” 

This year, Schanz waited until COVID-19 restrictions eased and held her yard sale the first weekend in August and was pleasantly surprised by the number of attendees.

“I think people are anxious to get out and do things. It’s to our advantage, I think, sometimes when a lot of places are closed because people go to the other places,” Schanz said. “That’s my theory!” 

Pierce has been impressed with the way in which attendees have respected social distancing at this summer’s past two events that the Outdoor Heritage Museum has participated in, the Lupine Festival and Oquossoc Days.

“People are being so careful nowadays,” Pierce said. “You see them walking up to booths one at a time, waiting for someone to finish at a booth, standing six feet back. I mean, it’s just the way it has to be now.” 

Pierce said that at the events over the summer, people told him they drove past the museum and gauged that there were about 50 people already present and decided to wait an hour before returning to help siphon attendance.

The museum has also cut back their usual vendors from 30 to 15 to allow for additional spacing between booths, and will have sanitation stations with masks and social distancing signage.

The Outdoor Heritage Museum is located on Routes 17 and Maine 4 in Oquossoc.

 

 

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