Lawrenceville Main Street cancels Winter Arts Market due to gathering limits

PHOTOS COURTESY OF KELLY EDELSTEIN

Lawrenceville Main Street’s third annual Winter Arts Market, which was set for Nov. 22, has been canceled because it cannot comply with a new order limiting the number of people who may gather for an outdoor event.

The cancelation was announced by Kelly Edelstein, the executive director of Lawrenceville Main Street, on Nov. 16 in response to an executive order issued by Gov. Phil Murphy that limits outdoor gatherings to 150 people. The executive order takes effect Nov. 23.

There are exceptions to the 150-person limit, such as outdoor religious or political activities, but the Winter Arts Market does not fall under any of the exceptions. Murphy issued his executive order in reaction to the sharp increase statewide in the number of people who have tested positive for COVID-19 over the past few days.

Lawrenceville Main Street had planned to move the Winter Arts Market from Weeden Park, next to the Lawrenceville Post Office, and spread out to various locations to keep the event safe by meeting the COVID-19 restrictions that were in effect at the time, Edelstein said.

Despite the event’s cancelation, Edelstein said, it is possible to buy one-of-a-kind gifts from the vendors by checking Lawrenceville Main Street’s social media pages for posts from the vendors.

The Winter Arts Market is Lawrenceville Main Street’s version of a holiday artisan market, Edelstein said. More than 90 artists and crafters from around Mercer County had signed up to participate and showcase their one-of-a-kind treasures, she said.

The Winter Arts Market was created two years ago to celebrate Lawrenceville Main Street’s Sculpture in the Park exhibit in Weeden Park. The exhibit, which is still on display, features sculptures created by a group of artists and sculptors from the Grounds for Sculpture’s Artists of the Motor Exhibit Building.

While it was initially held to celebrate the ribbon-cutting for the sculpture exhibit, the Winter Arts Market has taken on a life of its own. It has proven to be a popular event, and had expanded from the initial 36 artists and crafters to the nearly 100 artists and crafters who had expected to participate in the 2020 edition of the event, Edelstein said.

The Winter Arts Market helps to create a strong sense of community and a healthy  business environment in the Village of Lawrenceville, Edelstein said. It also is a fundraiser for the nonprofit Lawrenceville Main Street, which uses the vendor fees to continue its free programs, business support and downtown beautification efforts, she said.

Lawrenceville Main Street sponsors a free weekly concert in Weeden Park in June, July and August. Concert-goers can purchase refreshments from local chefs who have restaurants in the Village of Lawrenceville.

Lawrenceville Main Street also has sponsored A Night in the Village, which is a walking tour of the restaurants, and it also has sponsored Restaurant Week with discounted meals for patrons.

“There is nothing better than seeing an entire community engage and enjoy together. Community engagement is at the heart of everything we do here at Lawrenceville Main Street,” Edelstein said.