Coronavirus concerns cause NWA Fashion Week, BFF to be postponed

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Instead of a spring and fall show, they'll be combined into one, huge show at the Walton Arts Center in October.

BENTONVILLE, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) — Coronavirus concerns are causing events around Northwest Arkansas to be postponed or even canceled.

Northwest Arkansas Fashion Week is one of many big events not moving forward.

Its CEO said programs were about to be printed Wednesday before the decision came down to cancel.

“The models, designers, the makeup artists, the hairstylists… How do we keep them safe for those three days? And I just didn’t know if I could say that we could,” said Robin Atkinson, the CEO of NWA Fashion Week.

The coronavirus is deciding the fate of the spring Northwest Arkansas Fashion Week.

“We’re an organization that relies on two shows a year to survive financially,” said Atkinson.

Canceling one, especially in the spring which is larger, could be devastating.

She said, “For us, this is the most important show of the year.”

After crunching the numbers and assessing the situation, Atkinson said the choice made itself.

“We rely on our creative talent so much and we owe them so much,” she said. “There’s no way I could put them in that scenario.”

So instead of a spring and fall show, they’ll be combined into one, huge show at the Walton Arts Center in October.

“The capacity in that building is three times the size of any show that we’ve ever done so we actually stand to do very well,” said Atkinson. “If we can carry ourselves over the summer and if we knock the fall out of the park, we should be fine.”

Plans are changing for other bigname annual events in NWA as well.

The Bentonville Film Fest has moved from April to August, concerning some in the hospitality industry.

“They’ve expressed that they’ve already seen a bit of an impact and so I think that we’re all looking at opportunities to continue to invite people to visit our city and eat and our restaurants and visit our hotels,” said Aaron Mullins with Visit Bentonville.

He said his team is making sure it’s not a total loss.

“We’re certainly working with them to ensure these events can still happen in the future whether it’s later this year or sometime next year,” said Mullins.

“Everything will happen the same way but it just won’t start happening until this has passed,” Atkinson said. “We’re going to come out of this in a better position.”

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