One of the Midwest’s biggest and most well-respected craft-maker fairs—the Spring Swing—is taking its act online. Yes, it’s true. Because of COVID-19 concerns, you can now do all of your nifty, bespoke shopping online from the comfort and safety of your own home.
We had a lot of questions about how it would work, so we asked organizer Katie Mabry van Dieren to give us the scoop—and, more importantly, how you can help local artisan entrepreneurs.
Riddle me this, how does your virtual Spring Swing work?
“This will be Kansas City’s very first Virtual Craft Fair! Due to restrictions of large gatherings of more than 50 people being impossible now, and due to The Swing wanting to be a responsible and safe space, we decided to take it virtual! We have partnered with a platform called Booth Central and will have Kansas City’s first LIVE virtual craft fair on May 30 – 31st from noon to 4 p.m. We will have a live stream of the bands, DIY, and food trucks, and all of our Kansas City and Midwest makers will have virtual ‘booths’ where you can support local, small businesses by shopping online. Also, you can meet the maker by chatting live with them! It’s free to attend—all you’ll need is a computer or phone with internet access.”
Very convenient! Have you ever done anything like this? What sort of turnout are you expecting?
“We are in the tenth year of hosting our festival. Never in my wildest dreams (or nightmares, I should say) did I think I would have to take my festival virtual due to a pandemic. Most of the time, my fear is weather—like, will it rain? Nature is a fickle friend and she’s got the best of us right now and instead of canceling the fair, going virtual is the best way we can support our local, small businesses and makers because Kansas City wants to come out! We have more than 5,000 interested in our Facebook event and usually we see 8,000 to 10,000 at the physical Spring Swing. Hoping for that same turnout for the virtual fair.”
What should virtual visitors expect?
“Guests should expect to be part of something truly innovative and fun. We’ll have the livestream with the host (myself), bands, DIY crafts, and food trucks going live throughout the event and more than 100 makers ‘booths’ set up to shop and even chat live with the artists. In a time where we are all isolated, guests can expect to feel the community and happiness that has made The Spring Swing one of the Midwest’s top indie craft fairs. It really is a movement—full of community and beauty. We’ll also be doing live giveaways of wonderful items during the event to encourage interaction and a feeling of comradery. Expect to find T-shirts and apparel, ceramics, jewelry, prints, fiber arts, photography, leather working, woodworking, stuff for pets, stuff for babies, stuff for garden! We’ll have it all.”
What are you most excited about?
“I am most excited about being able to support our makers and local, small creative businesses during this crucial time. I can’t wait for Kansas City to see how talented our local makers are and for Kansas City to show its support at KC’s first Virtual Craft Fair—and I’m excited to partner with Booth Central for our first live event.”