THIS YEAR'S FAIR IS CANCELLED.
We have been keeping a close eye on the data related to the spread and attempted containment of COVID-19 over the last few months. Based on the current situation, and reasonable predictions of what things will look like in a few months, it is with reluctance that we must cancel the 2020 Rochester Antiquarian Book Fair. This was not an easy decision, nor one we made lightly or hastily. Here are some points that helped determine our decision:
- while New York is reopening, there is still little data on how this is affecting containment of the virus
- due to the nature of book fairs, there is no reasonable way to enact and police social distancing protocols, nor the wearing of masks by exhibitors and attendees
- many dealers and exhibitors fall within the 'high risk' demographic
- experts indicate a real danger of a second spike in the fall, which could lead to more state mandates about closures of businesses and cancellation of events
From a public safety standpoint, these facts indicate that going forward with the event would be irresponsible and inconsiderate of both book dealers and customers. I have also spoken with our co-sponsors RIT Press, who agree with this decision and look forward to working with us again next year.
We are happy to report that the Main Street Armory is willing to transfer the deposit we submitted for this year's event to the 2021 book fair, and we have already reserved a specific date to ensure we have a spot. This may be subject to change given that the cancellation of many events this year will likely cause some scheduling disruptions next year, so we will announce the date at a later time. Exhibitors who have already submitted contracts will receive refunds of their deposits, unless they choose to put this deposit towards the 2021 fair.
We will continue to keep a close eye on things throughout 2020, and with any luck we will not be facing this sort of difficult choice in 2021. In the meantime, I hope you will all do what you can within the 'new normal' to feed your love of books, support independent booksellers. Above all, though, stay safe.
If you have any questions, please write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Rochester Area Booksellers Association (RABA) is a group that was formed by independent book and manuscript shops in Rochester and surrounding areas. The purpose of RABA has always been to preserve the local book community and to provide quality books to the readers and collectors of the area.
RABA and RIT Press co-sponsor the Rochester Antiquarian Book Fair.