ASHLAND, Ore. -- The Ashland community is ready for the 2020 Oregon Shakespeare Festival season.
"OSF is so important to us. We would be lost without it," said Karen Bates, owner of Sew Creative. Businesses like hers tend to stock up for the start of the season.
"Oh yes! I do a lot of my buying knowing that I'm going to have tourists for the summer time," said Bates.
Most locals and businesses consider this weekend the start of tourism season in Ashland. On Friday, she and her team were working to put out new products.
"Absoutely, we are starting to get some tourists in," said Bates. "I mean, my locals are wonderful and they support us in the off season, but without our tourists we could not keep this place going."
Locals are already talking about this season.
"Don't even know how they did the staging, because there was so much happening," said Penny and Bill Herman. They saw the play "Peter and the Starcatcher" during preview week. "Oh, it was amazing. It was so fun."
CJ Martinez with OSF says that there will be 10 performances this 2020 season. Every month or so a new performance will be available for people to see.
When the festival is successful, Bates says she is too.
"Absolutely we see it in our numbers no question about it." said Bates.
With the current concerns about the potential spread of coronavirus, OSF says that it is closely monitoring updates from the CDC and Oregon Health Authority about COVID-19. The festival will be disinfecting before performances, between and after.
OSF says the safety and health of staff and customers is its top priority.