WINTERVILLE—After fighting off one curveball after another thrown by the coronavirus pandemic, the Pitt Community College Foundation has reached the short rows in terms of preparations for the 2020 Down East Holiday Show.
This year, the organization’s largest annual fundraiser will take place Nov. 6-8, but it will do so with a significantly different format due COVID-19. Instead of hundreds of vendors selling their wares to thousands of shoppers in the Greenville Convention Center, the show will feature mouse clicks and virtual shopping carts, since it will be held virtually.
During a Sept. 21 press conference, PCC Foundation Executive Director Beth Sigmon announced that the 2020 edition of the Holiday Show would take place online due to state social distancing regulations and health safety concerns associated with COVID-19.
“It’s been a difficult year for planning practically any activity, and that has certainly included PCC Foundation fundraisers,” Sigmon said this week. “After completely changing plans for our spring fundraiser at the last minute due to the coronavirus, we held our fall employee fund drive entirely online. And now, of course, we’re preparing to hold the Holiday Show virtually for the first time ever.”
PCC Events Coordinator Erin Greenleaf says shoppers began registering to participate in the virtual Holiday Show on Oct. 1. Registration is still underway at www.downeastholidayshow.com, she said, adding that the cost is $10 for three full days of shopping from the comfort of home.
Once registered, Greenleaf says shoppers will receive an access code that works for each show date. They’ll also be eligible to win a Kate Spade purse from Bob 93.3.
Greenleaf says shoppers will enter the show through an app they download to their smartphone or computer. Vendors, she says, can be located by name, product category and on a map.
“We’ve tried to make the virtual show as similar to our in-person event as possible,” Greenleaf said. “Vendors will be displayed on a map as if they were set up in the Greenville Convention Center. Shoppers can simply click on a booth to see what they have for sale, and there will also be an option for them to message vendors directly with questions.”
Even though there isn’t a uniform process for vendors to ship the items they’ve sold, Greenleaf says the foundation has designated Nov. 14 as an opportunity for shoppers to pick up their purchases on the PCC campus. She said many businesses may choose to ship purchases directly to customers at no additional cost, while others will offer drop-off options and porch pickup opportunities at their storefront locations.
In addition to items for sale, Greenleaf says the show will feature vendor demonstrations at scheduled times, holiday music from PCC faculty, and Santa Claus reading stories for kids.
Since it began in 2002, the Down East Holiday Show has generated more than $1.4 million to benefit PCC student scholarships and educational activities.