I wasn’t sure how to begin this letter, it’s going to be a difficult one to write and a sad one. Please take the time to read this letter in it’s entirety. I’ll start at the beginning for those of you that don’t know me, my family and history the festival. My name is Barb Grossman and I started the Pittsburgh Knit & Crochet Festival, now the Creative Arts Festival 16 years ago.
What began as a very small, peaceful and happy gathering of like-minded fiber loving people grew to embrace thousands of people who are passionate about working with their hands. Whether you were crocheting or knitting a blanket for a newborn, a hat for a chemo patient, a lap blanket for a senior or veteran, sewing a quilt for Grandma or a child’s bed, or creating for the pure love of making, we all worked with our hands and appreciated the love that went into our work.
The annual festival grew into a community of people from all backgrounds who shared a common goal. I have been fortunate to walk alongside of you and walk proudly among this community.
You watched my daughter grow up and I’ve seen many of your children grow. We have celebrated each other‘s joys and shared each other sorrows. You cried with me and held my hand when my sister Ann was diagnosed with leukemia over 8 years ago and welcomed her with open arms when she joined me as my trusty sidekick at the festival. You provided a community for me when my husband was diagnosed with cancer and as I navigated the challenging task of being the caregiver for my mother who battled dementia. You wept with me when she died this past fall. We experienced many other trials and tribulations together along the way, many happy ones and some difficult.
In the midst of the pandemic, I have to announce that unfortunately, due to the ongoing restrictions, mandates and guidelines being set forth for the city of Pittsburgh, and the state of Pennsylvania, I will have to cancel the rescheduled August 2020 Festival.
It is with great sadness that I am writing the rest of this letter:
I have made the very difficult decision NOT to continue the festival in 2021.
I have suffered greatly, as many of you have, mentally, emotionally, psychologically as well as financially. I have had NO support from the government to assist with any hardship incurred in the cancellation/postponement/rescheduling of the event. I had to lay my sister Ann off in April.
The biggest impact of this stressful situation, though, has been on my health.
As a result of the pandemic situation and the cancellation of the March 2020 dates, I landed in the hospital with a “heart event” which was diagnosed/determined to be a direct result of stress. I cannot put myself at risk rescheduling again and juggling the details of another festival.
I truly mean when I say, that this decision was made with a very heavy heart. I had hoped to be able to continue a few more years until retirement then ease out gracefully and pass this along to some younger, more enthusiastic organizers. But I can no longer place myself at risk and continue.
I am hoping that there might be an interested person or group of people who might step forward and continue the Pittsburgh Festival and keep the time honored traditions alive in the region.
Thank you for the support over the years and for your faith in me and my family. I am proud to have walked among you and called you my friends. This has been more than a business for me. It has been like having a child, watching it grow and having to let it go.
I know I am not alone in being a small business that is a victim of the recent circumstances that is unable to keep on functioning. I appreciate your understanding. I wish each of you health and joy and will hold you near to my heart! Thanks for the blessed journey.
With Warm Regards,
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