NEW BETHLEHEM – The Redbank Valley Public Library’s annual holiday fundraising event was held inside the New Bethlehem Town Center along Arch Street on Saturday.

Originally canceled because of COVID-19 concerns, Shop, Look and Listen would have presented an impossible challenge if held inside the library building. An offer of the empty ground-floor space saved the day.

Jaylene Onufer, the library’s director, said, “We were planning on not holding Shop, Look and Listen this year at all. Fortunately, Sandy Mateer stepped forward and offered us the space.”

Mateer has spearheaded the adaptive reuse of the early-1900s Keck Block structure. While the second floor is devoted to showcasing the works of regional artists and artisans, the ground floor offers plenty of space for setting up vendors’ booths while providing adequate social distancing. The space’s high ceilings also offered good airflow during the six-hour event.

“The craft show drew 18 vendors this year,” Onufer said. “That figure is very much in line with former years. The final total raised this year is only $67 lower than last year. We are all pleased.”

While Onufer said that six vendors dropped out of the show beforehand, those who set up inside were pleased by the change. There was adequate space between tables, allowing shoppers to move more freely. Masks and hand sanitizer were available at the door.

“Everything worked out so well this year that we just might use the town center again next year if the space is available,” Onufer said. “And I cannot thank Darla Hinderliter enough for handling Shop, Look and Listen again. She took a large burden off my shoulders because I run all the library’s fundraisers throughout the year.”

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