Custer’s Christmas Arts and Crafts show is back with some changes

SPOKANE, Wash. — A Spokane family’s community tradition was put on hold last year because of COVID-19. This year, the Custer’s Christmas Arts and Crafts show is back.

For 45 years, the show has been showcasing artwork from vendors across the west coast. Though COVID still changes things, Cheryl Custer-Branz is just happy it is happening.

“For us right now, any show is better than no show,” Custer-Branz said. “We have to compare where we were last year and how do we make this happen.”

She questioned for a moment whether or not the show would come back. Custer-Branz is happy it did, but there has been a bump in the road.

Governor Inslee issued a mandate for events. An event with more than 1,000 people needs to show proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test 72 hours before the event. Custer-Branz says after the announcement last month, the phones started to ring.

“There were artists that had very strong opinions about the mandate,” she said. “And folks, in particular, that did not live in the state of Washington that decided to cancel and not participate.”

She believes the community needs more testing for events like this. Many places require you to have symptoms to get a test.

“When one call was coming after the other it was like, when is this going to stop? And that first day was pretty concerning,” she said.

Twenty vendors pulled out of the show. During a normal year, that number is only seven or eight. It did not put a damper on her Christmas spirit. She had people lined up on the waiting list to get a vendor spot inside.

“This show, in particular, is a huge part of the artists’ and crafters’ income for the year,” Custer-Branz said. “Nothing beats holiday retail shopping.”

When you get inside, you will need to wear a mask unless you are eating. They also have electronic ticketing, hand sanitizer stations and aisles are a little wider for social distancing.

“We’re just so close to the finish line,” Custer-Branz said. “We’re two days away from opening the event and it will be a thrill to see people lined up and ready to go and have the holiday music playing.”

The show goes from Nov. 19 to Nov. 21. Tickets are $8 and children 12 and under are free. For more information about when the show is open, click here.

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