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Scheduling conflict cancels Old Deerfield summer fair

— For 38 years, on the third weekend in June potters, furniture builders, blacksmiths and artists have converged on Memorial Street in Old Deerfield for the annual Old Deerfield Summer Crafts Fair.

But this summer, the street that is usually filled with pottery, baskets, paintings and, last year, a scrap metal dinosaur, will be empty of art.

The Pocumtuck Valley Memorial Association recently announced the summer crafts fair has been canceled for this year.

Executive Director Tim Neumann said there was a conflict with the date. The original date, from June 15 to 16, was unavailable. Deerfield Academy booked the time for its alumni weekend. The alumni weekend is typically scheduled for the second weekend in June.

On top of that, the Deerfield Teachers’ Center, which holds museum offices, is undergoing construction.

Deerfield Academy is renovating the teachers’ center for its summer arts program from July to September. The private boarding school is renting the rooms — used in the crafts fair — for the arts programs. The kitchen has become a darkroom for photography students and the bathroom is being made handicapped accessible.

The school’s rent payment makes up for the profits from the canceled fair, a major fundraiser for the nonprofit museum.

The only other weekend available would have been the first weekend in June, but Neumann said vendors usually have their schedules booked every weekend with different shows from across the country.

Construction will be complete for the September crafts fair, Neumann said.

“Everything will be all set for the fall show,” he said.

Whether there will be a summer show next year remains to be determined.

“We’re not sure if we’ll have one next year,” said Neumann. “We’ll see how things are going in the fall and see if we can get our date back.” He insisted the summer fair was not gone for good, but going on a hiatus until a date is settled.

Neumann said the summer show is the smallest of their three, behind the fall fair and the Christmas sampler.

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