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Estes Park Labor Day Arts and Crafts Show, September 2-4, 2017, Estes Park, CO

Estes Park is the gate way to the east side of Rocky Mountain National Park.  There are many summer homes in the surrounding mountains and valleys, and it is a popular destination for metro Denver. You also encounter a broad spectrum of income levels, and a lot of foreign visitors. I have been doing this show continuously since 2010.  I also do the Memorial Day show in May.  The show is produced by the Estes Valley Sunrise Rotary, Inc.  The Labor Day crowd is large and there is a constant flow of patrons through the show.  The show hours were 9-5 Saturday and Sunday and 9-3 on Monday.



      One hundred five booths are set up around the perimeter of Bond Park and in the parking lot in front of the Town Hall. People with trailers were given an option of starting set up at 7:30 Friday morning and could drive to their sites. I dollied into my site as there was plenty of room. Later in the morning, artists parked in designated areas and Rotary volunteers dollied artist to their sites and helped with set up. Take down was Monday at 3:00 pm. Rotarians were available to dolly artist to their vehicles in designated parking areas. Later, artists were allowed to bring in vehicles to load up. You have to have paid taxes before you got a loading permit. The Rotary volunteers are experienced and the best group of any show I attend.

      Trailers park at the fairgrounds and there is a free shuttle back to the park. Artists park on streets or in lots away from the perimeter of Bond Park.



      There was new management this year, and they placed a shaved ice vendor in a group of seven artists. Lines from his customers blocked the flow of traffic and access to our booths.  This in turn impacted our sales. Another artist and I took the problem to management. Rather than move him to the site of other food and beverage vendors, they told him once he had more than 5 people in line, he would have to serve out the back of his booth. The lines started to form again on Sunday until one of the seven, tied into him about the restriction management had imposed. He wasn’t happy about this and was making snide remarks to his clients about why they had to go around to the back of his booth to be served. Monday he served out the back of his booth as he had been told to do.



      There is a broad spectrum of art and craft at this show to meet the interests of a broad spectrum of visitors to Estes Park. There were high end jewelers and photographers to handmade soaps and edibles. Many of the artists have done this show for several years like myself.

      The Rotary had coffee and donuts for artists every morning. There was a silent auction of donated art. Booth sitters were available.  Clean, indoor, accessible restrooms are in the Town Hall.

      Thunderstorms and wind are common at the Estes Park shows. There was neither this year. Saturday was hot in the low 80’s, but Sunday was a little cooler. Monday was cooler in the 70’s and there was a haze of smoke from wildfires in WA and OR that had drifted east.



      Sales over seven years have ranged from $2.69K to $4.9K with an average of $4.18k.  As mentioned above, the shaved ice guy’s lines restricted access to my booth on Saturday and part of Sunday. Sales for both of these days were below historic averages. Sunday’s sales were above average. Overall, I was around $350 below the historic average. I had 55 sales with an average of $70. Belts were my best seller. I had seven holster sales which is consistent with the dominant blue collar, middle class demographic for the show.



      We rented our favorite cabin with a hot tub again. Saturday evening, AFI’ers Weldon and Lori Lee, and Dan and Steve Sawusch came over for steak and salmon out on the deck. We had a lot of fun talking about other shows and promotors.  They remembered my upcoming birthday and our 49th anniversary with cards.

      We drove home through Glen Haven, a village that was essentially wiped out during the 2013 floods. There are a series of steep sharp switchbacks where the road drops out of a valley into the canyon that are fun to drive.  There is still a lot of evidence of the flood damage.

 Photos: 1. Clear day for set up. There is still snow on the high peaks.                                          2. Dinner at Bear Bottom Cabin:Weldon and Lori, Steve and Dan, me                              3. Smokey afternoon for take down. Rotary volunteers are in fluorescent vests. 

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