Athens Arts4All

Athens Arts4All festival attendees browse the jewelry at the vendor’s table, Cornucopia, during last year’s event at the Harlan Rowe Middle School.

ATHENS — The COVID-19 crisis has claimed another cancellation victim — this time an annual springtime staple of the Valley.

The 2020 Athens Arts4All was officially canceled by organizers on Tuesday amid concerns of the coronavirus.

“The first weekend in May is the start of the summer season for most artisans — warmer temperatures, sunny skies and the Athens Arts4All,” organizers said. “The grounds of Harlan Rowe Middle School are filled with laughter, food, music and art — until this year.”

Originally scheduled for May 2 and 3, the event typically brings in thousands of attendees and numerous artisans from many miles away.

“Looking at the COVID-19 conditions, we wanted to make sure everyone stays safe,” spokesperson Kurt Priester said. “We didn’t want to risk it, and we want to come back stronger than ever on May 1 and 2, 2021.”

However, Priester explained that the Arts4All committee is still hard at work to bring the experience of the event to the community while also supporting the many artisans that were slated to set up on the school grounds in May.

“We have created a ‘Virtual Arts4All’ on our website that people can go to and see all the artisans that were going to be there,” he said. “They can see the artisans. They can order from them. We’re also going to be looking for live concerts and videos of some of the performers that were going to be there to post online. We want to be able to bring the Arts4All experience to the community in some way.”

While Arts4All will not be happening this year, Priester was hopeful and optimistic that the Valley tradition would be back on track by next year.

“Losing this event is massive,” he said. “But we’ll work through it together. We thank our sponsors, artisans and the community for all of their support. We encourage people to go to our website and Facebook page for updates, and we’ll see everyone back in 2021.”

More information is available at

Johnny Williams can be reached at (570) 888-9643 ext. 232 or Follow Johnny Williams on Twitter @johnnywMT

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