APT’s The Road Back : Spring Green is back in business

American Players Theatre

Photo via APT

The announcement of APT’s 2021 in-person Summer Season was an emotional event here in Spring Green. And, from what we’ve heard, it was for you as well. So to start, we want to thank you for the support, the excitement and even the tears you’ve shared with us since then. Your emails, notes and social media comments make us so happy, and keep us going when challenges come our way (and they do keep coming). But today is for accentuating the positive, so thanks once again for being the best audience we could hope for.

Another group that was particularly happy to hear about APT’s return to in-person performances is our friends in the Spring Green area business community. The pandemic – and the cancellation of our 2020 season – has hit them hard. But they have persevered, and are so eager to see you back in their shops and restaurants this summer.

“We are very excited APT will be performing again this summer! Last summer, we would sit and look out the windows at the eerily quiet streets of Spring Green, missing the vitality and energy that all these people bring to our small town,” said Eric Ferguson, who owns the White School Collective. Their Friday night pizza parties have become a tradition around town, and APT visitors that were lucky enough to experience their exceptional wood-fired pizza buff et were in for a treat. Eric said, “We had to make some changes to get through the year. Instead of doing a buffet, we switched to take-out, a change that we’ll maintain.” Curbside pick-up is also available, and by the time the APT season rolls around, dining will also be available in the garden, with limited dining indoors. They’re also offering pre-ordered dinners on Tuesdays, and planning pop-up events in the garden on Saturdays, like cocktails and street food.

Ruth at Prairie Flowers & Gifts is looking forward to catching up with APT customers, after the winter that lasted a full year! She has lots of new things at the shop, including a line of clothing from Italy, new hats and scarves for women, and locally made, fragranced wax melts.

Meanwhile, next door at Convivio, they have expanded their espresso counter and their outdoor patio space. Espresso drinks, wine by the glass, and spritzers are always available, and the backyard is a delightful place to visit with friends in a socially distanced way. Plans are in the works to expand their delicious selection of baked goods on the weekends as summer approaches.

Owner Mary D’Alton said, “It’s never been this challenging to run a brick and mortar retail store in a rural community. We feel very, very lucky that we’re still in business. We’ve been fortunate to have been supported by our loyal local customers and friends of APT. We look forward to visits from APT audience members – many of whom have become familiar faces that visit each summer. We love to hear what they think of the plays and share their excitement.”

The Spring Green General Store, a popular stop for the APT crowd, has pivoted to make the last year work. “There were tears of sorrow when we had to close our doors in March,” owner Karin Miller said. But though they weren’t open for in-person shopping, they regrouped and launched an online store, started food-buying clubs, and offered personal shopping and backdoor pickup. In June, they deemed it safe enough to re-open. Karin said, “We have expanded our outdoor seating, we sanitize everything constantly and require everyone to wear masks (except when eating). We’ve reduced our indoor seating, installed plastic shields, offer contactless pay, curbside pickups, back porch pick-ups – in short, we are doing everything we possibly can to keep ourselves, and you, safe!” They hope to return to live music events soon. Though Bobfest – their annual day-long homage to Bob Dylan – is not happening this May, they hope that the other musical bookend of the season, Beatlefest, will take place in person on Labor Day.

These are just a few examples – there are dozens of businesses in the Spring Green area that cannot wait to welcome you back this season. We hope you’ll take some time to visit them. While we wait for summer to arrive, check out the Spring Green Area Chamber of Commerce website to refresh your memory of all this area has to offer.