Williamston Pop-up Arts and Crafts Show returns this weekend

Madison RoseThe Williamston Pop-Up Arts and Crafts Show will take place Saturday, Nov. 13, from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. inside Keller’s Plaza in Williamston,

After nearly a two-year hiatus, the Williamston Pop Up Arts and Crafts Show will return to Keller’s Plaza in Williamston on Saturday, Nov. 13, from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.

The show will feature handmade items from a number of local artisans and makers, including watercolor, graphite and acrylic paint artists. “It’s a fun day to get artisans and crafters and people up here,” said show coordinator and The Artisan Alcove Gallery and Gifts Owner Matt Mulford. “It helps rejuvenate us, invigorate us and inspire us to keep at it.”

How COVID-19 affected the show and business

In March 2020, Mulford made the decision to cancel the show for safety reasons without knowing that the pandemic would prevent another show the following year. 

The shutdown significantly hindered the local artists’ businesses as they were unable to sell their work in person for at least six weeks. 

The pandemic forced Watercolorist and Owner of the Michigan Lighthouse Art Gallery Anita Saviko to switch her watercolor classes to Zoom for six months. 

Despite her disdain of teaching online, it was the only way to pay the rent. 

“I had the little gallery over here for about eight years,” Saviko said.

Customers shop for pumpkins, gourds and squash at Barkham Creek Farms on Oct. 10.

Williamston fall attractions reap benefits despite COVID-19

For some businesses and attractions open during the fall – specifically, pumpkin patches, corn mazes and farmers markets – in Williamston the pandemic affected them in different ways. 

Bestmaze Corn Maze

Bestmaze Corn Maze is located at 3803 Noble Road in Williamston. 

Owner of Bestmaze Corn Maze Mark Benjamin said after surveying people who came to the maze last season, he figures about half the regular customers stayed home due to the pandemic. “Because other places were closed, we got a lot of brand new people who had never been here before,” Benjamin said. “We ended up having one of our best seasons ever of 20 years.” 

Despite COVID-19 concerns and cutting back advertising about 80% last year, Benjamin said the maze experienced huge crowds. “The thing that shocked us (is), we were never slammed,” Benjamin said. “It was just like, a car pulled in, a car pulled out … all day long.

Williamston Community Schools Board of Education members sit and discuss agenda topics, during the Board of Education meeting held on Oct. 4, in Williamston Middle School.

Williamston School Board implements new classroom evaluation program

Williamston Superintendent Adam Spina, introduced the Board of Education’s top goal — a growth-oriented evaluation program — during the board’s monthly meeting on Oct. 4.“Strategy one is that an appropriate, evidence-based evaluation system will be developed and implemented for all staff,” Spina said. “The second part … is that district administrators will demonstrate instructional leadership by prioritizing time spent in the classrooms, meeting with staff and providing actual meaningful feedback and accurate documentation respective to teaching and learning.”Instead of a one-hour observation once a year, Spina said the goal is get principals to conduct more frequent visits – planned or spontaneous – with teachers throughout the year to provide them with feedback on their teaching and classroom. “One thing I would encourage principals to do,” Spina said. “If you’re walking down a hallway and you see something that piques your curiosity, you can pop into the classroom, because this is about feedback and conversations.