Sun Sentinel Broward Edition

Delray Affair moving to Boynton Beach

Some vendors aren’t happy

- By Wells Dusenbury

DELRAY BEACH — The Delray Affair — a popular outdoor arts event that has been a nearly 60-year staple of the community — has a new temporary home, and it’s angering some vendors. They say the new location pales in comparison and complain they haven’t received a refund for the location change.

Canceled in 2020 because of the COVID19 pandemic, the Delray Affair will return Friday through Sunday under the rebranded name, Affair of the Arts. The event now will take place north of the city, at the Boynton Beach Mall.

The event, which is overseen by the Delray Beach Chamber of Commerce, traditiona­lly has been a place for hundreds of artists to sell their work to crowds, but COVID-19 precaution­s have changed things this year.

Stephanie Immelman, CEO at Delray Beach Chamber of Commerce, said they were forced to move the exhibition this year after the city of Delray Beach wouldn’t grant them permission to hold a widescale event. While Delray Affair will take place in Boynton Beach, she said the plan is to return the event back to Delray Beach next year.

Not everyone has been happy with the decision, though.

One of the participan­ts, Fran Hurst, said she and her husband have participat­ed in the Delray Affair for more than 20 years, showcasing and selling their jewelry on their usual spot in front of Rocco’s Tacos on Atlantic Avenue.

When the event was canceled in 2020, Hurst said vendors were given two opportunit­ies: use the deposit for a fall show in 2020 or take part in the 2021 Delray Affair. She chose the latter, assuming it would be on Atlantic Avenue.

But when the venue was changed, she asked for a refund. Hurst, though, said they wouldn’t provide one for her $508 deposit.

“We were in the same spot for 20 years,” Hurst said. “Moving to this new venue really was not even an option for us, and furthermor­e it’s not what we signed up for.

“It’s like going to Ruth’s Chris Steak House and ordering a steak and getting served a McDonald’s hamburger and them saying, ‘This is all we can do so you have to take that and still pay the same amount of money.’ ”

Immelman said that roughly 450 vendors are taking part in this year’s event, down slightly from the usual number of 500.

“In this day and age, if you get 90% acceptance of a solution, I’d call that a win, so I’m happy that 90% of them have agreed to participat­e.”

She noted how many people are “excited to be having” the event. “I’m sorry I can’t make 100% of the people happy about it, and I’m sorry they’re unhappy with our solution, but there’s nothing else we can do at this time.”

Immelman said they’re hoping to have an additional big event back in Delray Beach in November, adding that people could transfer their deposit for that event if it receives approval.

Hurst, though, said she’s “lost all trust in the Delray Beach Chamber of Commerce” and doesn’t see herself taking part in any future events.

 ?? JOHN MCCALL /SOUTH FLORIDA SUN SENTINEL ?? A variety of cork bottle stoppers are displayed during the Delray Affair in downtown Delray Beach in 2019.
JOHN MCCALL /SOUTH FLORIDA SUN SENTINEL A variety of cork bottle stoppers are displayed during the Delray Affair in downtown Delray Beach in 2019.

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