Coupeville Town Council gives arts and crafts festival green light

Food vendors will still be available at the scaled-back arts and crafts festival.

Barring any COVID-19 catastrophes, the Coupeville Arts and Crafts Festival will be happening this August — and there will be food.

The Coupeville Town Council approved a conditional special event permit June 8 in a 4-1 vote. The council maintains the right to cancel the event in case of a COVID-19 emergency.

The festival itself will be a scaled-back version of previous years’ festivals, with fewer artists spaced farther apart. There will, however, be food, a topic the council debated at length during its last meeting on May 25. Mayor Molly Hughes said the festival has already confirmed at least five food vendors, with others potentially forthcoming.

Pat Powell was the only council member to vote against the permit, citing concerns brought up in the previous meeting that the festival poses risks for local businesses.

Restaurants struggling to restaff and reopen might be overwhelmed by the influx of customers — though the presence of food vendors at the festival should help mitigate this — or a COVID-19 outbreak among crowds at the festival could cause local businesses to shut down again.

Powell also reiterated Hughes’ point from the May 25 meeting that many business owners have themselves complained about the festival.

“I apologize to those that are so incredible with the arts and crafts festival,” Powell said, “but I just can’t make this work in my mind.”

All four other council members voted to approve the permit.