BURILLVILLE – It was a popular event that brought out thousands of guests and more than 75 vendors, with two days of fun complimented by a laser light show.
But the Burrillville Arts and Crafts Festival has been cancelled this year, and organizer Veronica Huguenin says new help and funding sources will be required for it to take place in future years.
Huguenin first took over the popular fall festival, held at the Assembly Theatre on East Avenue, in 2014. She had participated in the event for years as a vendor – a nearly 50 year tradition before it ceased in 2007 – and says she missed the community gathering.
“I thought it was a good thing for the town,” Huguenin told NRI NOW.
Under her leadership, the Burrillville Arts and Crafts Festival grew to two-day event, featuring local music, a full food court, more than 75 vendors and unique kids’ activities.
“She did an amazing job,” said vendor Louise Giguere of BeRibboned Custom Designs.
Giguere said the event became both her biggest show and her favorite of the year.
“My favorite part of the art festival was the people – friends and acquaintances from town and people I had never met,” she said.
In 2016, Hugenin added a laser light show to the lineup.
“Everyone loved it,” Giguere said.
Huguenin held fundraises to support the festival throughout spring and summer. All of the work, she notes, was done by her and a small group of family and friends.
But last April, she became ill, and her work for the 2017 event was done while fighting sickness.
She received a clean bill of health in May, but knows she cannot continue the work needed to keep the festival afloat without more volunteers and funding.
“Unfortunately, without the funding, I won’t be able to do it, as I can no longer do all the fundraising that this requires,” Huguenin said.
She has applied for grants and notes that if if secured, the festival will return in 2019 better than ever. But if not, it seems, the future of the event is murky.
“Unfortunately through the years it has required a lot of fundraising and I am just not physically able to do it all anymore so with out the funding it will be a no go,” she said.
Those interested in helping out with the 2019 event should contact Huguenin via Facebook.