The Greater Pittsburgh Arts & Holiday Spectacular will return to full capacity starting Nov. 19 at the Monroeville Convention Center after being limited by the covid-19 pandemic in 2020.
The 24th edition of the annual event is expected to fill 250 booths with crafts, arts, gift items and holiday decorations from Nov. 19-21. Approximately 10,000 people are expected to attend across the three days with shopping hours from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. the first two days and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Nov. 21.
“This year, we’re anticipating kind of a ‘back to normal’ thing,” said Dave Stoner, promoter of the event. “We’re planning for that. The building, they’ve got all the protocols in place in terms of cleaning and sanitizing door handles, bathrooms and all that good stuff. We’re ready.”
The event in 2020 had its number of booths purposely limited, allowing appropriate room for social distancing.
“We’re proud of the fact that we did three shows last year,” Stoner said. “We kept it as safe as possible. We made people wear masks. We put good space between all the exhibits last year.”
The crafts and food booths will be represented by 13 states — Pennsylvania, Delaware, Illinois, Indiana, Maryland, Minnesota, Michigan, New York, New Jersey, Ohio, Texas, Virginia and West Virginia. The exhibitors were selected from a mailing list of more than 13,000 artists and craftsmen.
To be accepted, those interested were asked to submit photos of their work, and a photo of their complete booth.
“There’s Christmas crafts. There’s all kind of arts and crafts,” Stoner said. “Mainly, traditional folk-art and country craft work at the show. That’s the other thing that I think sets it apart (from other crafts shows) is the quality of the work that’s there.”
Crafts unrelated to the holidays will also be sold.
The vendors will be required to park away from the convention center site, leaving more parking for those attending. They will be shuttled from Monroeville Mall.
“We have an arrangement with Monroeville Mall where our exhibitors park over there,” Stoner said. “We shuttle them over to the convention center every morning and we shuttle them back over so that we free up all the parking around the building, and make it more comfortable and more convenient for our customers to park adjacent to the convention center.”
Shuttles will also be available from the mall campus for guests, free of charge. These measures were put in place to make traveling to the event easier for seniors.
Along with crafts and food items, entertainment will also be featured. The East End Kids, a teen song and dance ensemble will, perform on Nov. 20 and 21 from 12-12:30 p.m. and 1-1:30 p.m. Children will have a chance to meet Santa and Mrs. Claus, and Clowns Glitter Dot Dapper will create balloon animals and offer face painting.
Tickets can be purchased at the door or online at familyfestivals.com. Children under the age of 6 get in free.
“I don’t even know what the ticket sales are up to at this point,” Stoner said. “Usually, the week leading up to the show, it’s pretty strong. We anticipate that more and more people will continue to opt to (purchase advance tickets).”
Wes Crosby is a Trib Total Media contributing writer.