Hearst UK is turning its annual Country Living Fair into an online event with a temporary virtual artisan market, masterclasses and celebrity interviews.
"Celebrate at home" will take place on 9 and 10 May across the publication's Facebook and Instagram channels. It will feature a range of experts, including Kirstie Allsopp, who will share tips on interiors, MasterChef finalist Giovanna Ryan, who will lead a cookery masterclass, and Sara Ward from Hen Corner, who will offer chicken-keepingand beekeeping tips.
In addition, Country Living has created a temporary virtual artisan market via the Instagram page @CLArtisans. During the event, consumers will be able to unlock discount codes. This has been designed to support the artisan community who usually sell products at its fair and have been impacted by the coronavirus crisis.
The live and on-demand content will become available cross-platform, in line with an event schedule to allow people to watch at the same time. It will also be available after the event.
Sharon Douglas, chief brand officer of homes, lifestyle and weeklies at Hearst, told Campaign: "We wanted to create some momentum around the whole thing and excitement with appointment to view. There will be a countdown for what people are able to see.
"Especially in lockdown, we wanted a couple of days where all the readers could sit down, they will probably have a table set up with tea and cakes, and this will be quite an event for them to come to."
Hearst will be looking to expand this digital event strategy to other brands in its catalogue.
Country Living hopes to open its Christmas fairs this winter in London, Harrogate and Glasgow, although the events have not yet been confirmed.
Douglas added: "This has given us an opportunity to bring the fair to everybody in the country at the same time. And we’re excited to start thinking about what this means for Christmas and next year. We won’t rule it out for Country Living fairs in the future, as well as other Hearst brand events."
Country Living sister title Women’s Health turned its annual live event into a virtual one in April.