Organizers of the small-business shopping festival known as Localtopia said they are “definitely proceeding” with this year’s celebration in Williams Park in St. Petersburg. They have lined up a record number of vendors.
In addition to more than 300 local makers, food trucks, artists, crafts, clothing vendors, beauty suppliers and breweries on display, four city blocks will be closed to cars for more tables and a second stage for live music. It will take place Feb. 12 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
“In many ways, this past year was harder for our local businesses than the first year of the pandemic,” said Olga Bof, founder and executive director of the nonprofit Keep Saint Petersburg Local business alliance. “They’ve struggled with labor shortages, supply chain issues, inflation, rent increases ... not to mention fatigue from having experienced nearly two years of life under COVID.”
To help shoppers get around, there will be a free bike valet at Williams Park at the corner of Fourth Street and Second Avenue N. Because of the large crowd expected, pets will be not be allowed at the festival.
This is the ninth year for this event, which in 2021 limited vendors and crowd capacity to adhere to public health guidelines. There were temperature checks at entrance points and people were sometimes asked to wait if the festival had reached capacity.
“It pained us to have to reduce the number of spots due to distancing issues. We said that we would make our 2022 festival our biggest one yet,” Bof said. “We hoped that by the time 2022 rolled around, we would be in a different place, and that things would get better for our local businesses. We need our community to heed the call to support them.”