Major Hamilton events adjust through coronavirus uncertainty

Many Hamilton events have been called off or postponed in coming weeks, while organizers of other happenings — such as the Alive After 5 gatherings downtown and the Hamilton Flea sales in Marcum Park — are following news events carefully.

But the Fitton Center for Creative Arts is using its creativity to give arts patrons a bonus: People won’t be able to see the 7th Biennial Fitton Center Member Show in person, but the show will happen online from sometime in May until late June, with the extra feature of seeing videos the artists can provide, talking about themselves and their art.

“Obviously, there’s great challenges going right now,” said Ian MacKenzie-Thurley, executive director of the center. “Great challenges. We’re in a health emergency, not (just) locally, but internationally. But there are some opportunities here, so we’re going to look at some of the opportunities, and this is one of them.”

“This is a great way to introduce new artists, get things online.”

Not canceling, when possible

Knowing that the coronavirus crisis is destroying the finances of many artists, the Fitton Center is doing everything it can to postpone shows, even until next year, rather than cancel them.

“We’ve talked to all of our artists coming in for shows, with the exception of one show (Dragons Love Tacos) which had to be canceled because the whole tour got canceled because of coronavirus,” MacKenzie-Thurley said.

“All of the rest of our shows, we’ve said, ‘Can we do them at another time?’ And of course, the artists — these musicians, these performers — are saying, ‘Absolutely.’ So we’re going to work with them, we’re going to work with our audience and the staff of the Fitton to find another time to bring these shows on.”

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The center also has contacted every patron for which it has phone numbers to discuss those plans and offer refunds for the shows.

“But the great, great majority of the people have said, ‘No, please hold on to my ticket, we’ll look forward to seeing the show at another time,’” he said.

“All of these musicians have lost their livelihoods overnight — instantly,” he said. “So we want to make sure that when we come to the other side of it, when it’s safe, when we’re allowed to do this and when people are comfortable coming back together, that we’ll do these shows and put them together.”

Many wedding receptions to be held there also have asked for help with new dates, he said.

For some other major Hamilton events that start in May, decisions have not yet been made.

Other events

Alive After 5 is a festival-like event downtown and along Main Street where businesses stay open into the evening with music, auto shows and art events.

“Our first one is supposed to be the last Friday in May, and honestly, we haven’t even discussed canceling it,” said Tiffany Grubb, director of membership and marketing for the Greater Hamilton Chamber of Commerce. “We’ll probably begin to have those conversations here soon as we look through things.”

As of now, the event is to happen the final Friday of May, June, July and August.

For the Hamilton Flea market, which happens the second Saturday of the month from May through September, “It’s kind of a wait-and-see approach right now,” said Aaron Hufford, a member of that event’s organizing committee. “The flea, we haven’t discussed it yet, but obviously, we want whatever’s safest for everybody — us, the vendors, residents.”

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