CLIFTON — The Fall Arts and Crafts Festival, hosted by the MHS-CHS Alumni Association, was held last weekend on Chase Creek Street.
Moving from the cramped auspices of the Clifton Visitors Center, the festival this year used more space to its advantage and, in partnership with the Colors of Copper, blossomed. Guests milled about the street, patronizing food and crafts vendors while partaking in the art and culture of the Colors of Copper inside the Chase Creek Galleria. By all measures, the festival appeared successful.
“We have 36 vendors — food vendors, crafters, direct sales. We’re along the street here on Chase Creek, and they’re all coming to support the Alumni Association. We’re just going to have a good time,” MHS-CHS member Bette Antonson said.
There’s worry, however. Antonson said the festivals, which are held in the spring and the fall, are not bringing in enough money to fund the scholarships that the events are designed to generate revenue for. Alumni just aren’t donating enough to pay for them.
It’s a problem faced by any charity or business operating in Greenlee County. Financial studies regularly place Greenlee as second in the state in terms of income, purchasing power, and short- and long-term savings among other personal financial metrics. The reality, however, is that most of that money is leaving Greenlee County.
A scarcity of certain services and commodities, combined with online retail, sees the wealth of Greenlee going out of the county, and donated money is no exception.
What that means for the MHS-CHS Alumni Association isn’t clear yet, but if there continues to be a lack of donations, Antonson said this festival may very well be the last.