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American Style Magazine Chooses Top Ten Art Fairs

I always love reading these lists of Top art fairs. The Sunshine Artist seems to be the most inclusive, spotlighting events across the country, Greg Lawler's Art Fair SourceBook, the most true, and American Style's list always includes some events I've never heard of, which always intrigues me. Here are their top ten:

1. Kentucky Crafted, The Market, Louisville, KY
2. St. James Court Art Show, Louisville, KY
3. Paradise City Arts Festival, Northampton, MA
4. Scottsdale Art Festival, Scottsdale, AZ
5. Francisco's Farm Arts Festival at Midway College, Midway, KY
6. Kentuck Festival of the Arts, Northport, AL
7. Bayou City Art Festival, Houston, TX
8. The American Craft Council Show, Baltimore, MD
9. League of New Hampshire Craftsmen Fair, Newbury, NH
10. Des Moines Arts Festival, Des Moines, IA

Read the details at this link:

Who knew Kentucky had three of the top ten festivals? Who knew that virtually there was no art west of the Mississippi? (well, a little) Who can tell me more about these events?

Comments below, please!

Views: 873

Comment by phillip hall on March 16, 2010 at 1:50pm
Hard to comment on such a misinformed list. Most of the shows on it are on the way down or not in the running for anyones top ten.
Comment by Connie Mettler on March 16, 2010 at 2:51pm
I am familiar with St. James, Paradise City, Bayou City and the wonderful Des Moines Arts Festival, and the ACC show. Can anyone comment on the rest? or even these? Should they be in the Top Ten?
Comment by Lee Hill on March 16, 2010 at 3:08pm
Methinks this list may be skewed due to advertisers of its trade magazine. Certainly it is a list for crafters, not fine artists!
Comment by Phyllis Minnery on March 16, 2010 at 6:57pm
I do Francisco's Farms, it is a great little show with a beautiful setting on the quad of a small private college in mid Kentucky. They have wonderful volunteers who do whatever they can to make the artists happy. They use these volunteers with golf carts to load you in and out. Campus housing, a dorm room @ $45.00 per night (for two) including breakfast is available to any artist from Friday evening through Sunday night. This June will be my fourth year to do this show, I think the show is in it's sixth year. It's a destination location and they charge admission, they collect as cars enter the campus. My sales have increased every year, and so has the traffic; I'm hoping this trend continues.
Comment by Barry Bernstein on March 17, 2010 at 3:58pm
I did the fall Paradise City Festival in Northampton, Mass the first few years it existed. I haven't been back. It was an excellent well run show and they draw from New England and New York. The buyers are sophisticated. The Post's are former artists. I think I know them from the ACE shows. Most of their artists are from the East Coast and are crossovers from the ACE events. I think about going back, maybe next year.
Comment by Pat Sorbini on March 17, 2010 at 4:46pm
I believe American Style uses the "readers vote" method which leads to electioneering and email campaigns to get the vote out.
Comment by Michelle Sholund on March 17, 2010 at 5:32pm
I haven't done these shows, but have wanted to do some of them. I do know Balt. ACC is amazing. It really has a huge reputation and buyers talk about it a lot!!! I do have this year program - which is more like a professional catelogue/magazine and it has it all - from booth layout to ads about guilds and even . They offer a live demo stage from Baltimore Clay Works' artists as well as artists from the show as well as feature new art forms such as green craft, craft4kids, and lawn and garden and a school to market program. I do know it costs a pretty penny to get it and is highly juried. They get a t.v. coverage during news programs and other nice promo stuff too. That is what I know about that show.
Comment by Bill Sargent on March 17, 2010 at 9:13pm
It's kind of interesting that Kentuck, as much as we liked it, was rated above Cherry Creek, which we REALLY liked.
Comment by Michelle Sinofsky Eshbaugh on March 17, 2010 at 10:57pm
I like to see what is voted in the top 10 even the top 100 so thanks for listing this :)
I am not at a stage where I have enough cash to apply to some of the big wig shows. The Paradise City show is a great show as I was there as a buyer not a seller. Really high end artists. I love that area and the only show I have done in that area is in winter and is a small show and even though I love the area it is not my best show but than again it is not Paradise City. What I do know is that it is way out of my league on many levels especially the price for a is close to a grand! I would have to sell a lot of $39 earrings to even make my booth. Yet I wouldn't discount the show but with the economy who has a grand to spend on one show?
Comment by Walt Bennett on March 18, 2010 at 8:25am
About five or so years back, my wife and I chased shows listed as "Top 10" in the Mid-Atlantic and east coast area by different 'leading' magazines and discovered a few fundamental truths:

1. One thing you can be certain of is spending a lot of money to be in one, as being on a list does NOT guarantee buying crowds.

2. Talking to other vendors is a better way of finding out what may work for you and what you are trying to sell.

3. Talking to other vendors is also a much better way of finding out what shows are well managed and what ones to avoid.

4. Always, always, ALWAYS consider demographics of the area, size of attendance, how well your products fit (what they are, price points, style, etc.), and how you'll fit in (for us, it's always a bad sign if someone's selling plants).

Bottom line is we only use these things as guidelines. One of our best shows for eight years is a local art & craft, antiques, music and whatever, small town fair. Relatively low booth fee, great attendance, and great management. Even in a down economy, we do well there. It'll never make anyone's top ten list, but so what.


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