Well, it's that time of year again and I'm trying to fill our schedule and attempting to stay close to home (NY) rather than traveling to the Midwest, etc.  I get apps for these events and am having a difficult time getting information about them.  

Any input will be greatly appreciated.  We need high attendance and not really "low end" and really want to avoid "carnivals".

Thanks so much.

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  • I first did the Chester show in 1984. And it was long running before that. Jim and Sarah are possibly among the best promoters I have dealt with.

    The fees are as follows. The spring show which is always the weekend after Memorial Day is $265. In 2011 I did around $2100 in sales. The fall show is $385 and is always the weekend after labor Day. In 2011 I did $2600 in sales. As far as I'm concerned the fees are right in the middle for what I get.

    As far as weather, I have had no problems with load in load out. But that's because when packing up, I choose to dolly rather than drive up to my space along with every other exhibitor. Hence I get on my way a lot sooner. But they do have load out down to a science and it goes smoothly if you follow their directions.

    A couple years ago there was a tropical storm heading towards New Jersey and on Saturday Jim had the crew go around and tell the exhibitors to "batten down the hatches" and leave, as torrential rains were imminent. Many exhibitors were told not to come on Saturday and set up on Sunday instead. And on Sunday the crowds came out!

    It's a five hour drive from Vermont, but both shows are already marked on my schedule.

    • Thank you, Chris, for your information.  As I stated to Bob above, we're going to apply to both shows (hopefully we will get in!).  I'm asking for a space in the field - we dolly also and find it helps us get home early and we can avoid some of the "pack up fever".

      Kind regards,


  • CHESTER CRAFT FAIR - Artists and crafters were placed in two sections – the main area was in the field and a $5.00 admission was charged to get into that area.  A booth in this section started at $375.  When it rains the day before the show (as it has for the last six years), loading and unloading is difficult in this area because a car or trailer cannot be driven onto the muddy field.  Straw is thrown on the ground in an effort to absorb some of the mud; however, there were complaints that the straw smells. 

    The second section (and much smaller) was Perry Street – six (6) blocks away from the field.  The cost for a 10x10 booth on Perry Street was $175 and no admission was charged.  Before registering for Perry Street, I communicated with the promoter who indicated Perry Street was good for a beginner exhibitor or for someone who didn’t want to spend the money for the field.  I was advised that Perry Street did not get as much foot traffic as the field; however, people did make their way down there and those exhibitors seem to be happy.  All along Main Street between the field and Perry Street, merchants put their sale items out in front of their stores.  The exhibitors on Perry Street were at the end of all the merchants.  There were signs pointing customers to Perry Street all along Main Street and Perry Street was promoted in the handouts.  Despite the promoter’s efforts, not many of the customers made it down to the artists and crafters exhibiting on Perry Street.  Some customers were lost because by the time they reached Perry Street, they were “spent out”.  Other customers were lost because they were too tired after walking and shopping on the field and Main Street.  Some shoppers never went beyond the crafters in the field – they headed back to their cars parked in lots in the opposite direction of Perry Street.

    I requested a space on Perry Street because I’d never exhibited at either of the Chester Crafter Fairs (spring or fall) before and $375 was way over my budget in this economy.  This was a big mistake – for me, Perry Street was a bust.  I made $219 for the entire weekend – less than I typically make.  By the end of the day on Saturday, most of the artisans and crafters were disappointed in their sales.  By the end of the day on Sunday, many of the exhibitors at least made their booth fee – but some did not. 

    I create fine and decorative wood art – as opposed to woodcrafts.  Each one of my pieces are one-of-a-kind and takes me anywhere from two to 90 hours to make.  Making my sales even worse at the Chester Craft Fair was a woodcrafter who was placed right next to me.  He made a very nice cookie cutter items and at the show, he personalized them.  Because his craft could be put together in less time than it takes to create wood art, he is able to sell his pieces for less than I can sell mine.  There was yet another “woodcrafter” across the street from my booth.  All weekend, other artisans and crafters on the street were commenting that they suspected he was a buy-sell vendor – and yes, this was communicated to the promoter. 

    If I go back to Chester Craft Fair, it will NOT be on Perry Street.  I felt that we were only there so customers had a reason to walk along Main Street – and this, shop along Main Street.  Since I did not exhibit on the field, I cannot give a personal account of sales; however, I did speak to a few crafters who exhibited on the field and they indicated their sales were not as expected...but sales are different for everyone and from year to year. 

    On a positive note, the promoter listened to my concerns and provided explanations.  Based on the ratings (and cost), I had high expectations for the Chester Craft Fair (even being on Perry Street); however, I was very disappointed.

    • Hi, Bob:

      Thank you so much for taking the time to send your input regarding the show.  So sorry it turned out to be such a disappointment for you.  We're going to give it a try in both spring and fall in the field.  Hopefully we won't have bad weather! and GOOOD sales!

      Kind regards,


      • When it rains the field drains beautifully, except last September when Irene showed up and everywhere was flooded. But Jim rearranged the exhibitors as best he could.

        I have never seen a time when vehicles weren't allowed on the field. And the field IS the place to be, not in town.

        • Great.  If we are there I'll be sure to look you up.


  • The only show on your list that we have done is Chester, NJ there are two shows one in Spring and Fall.  Spring show is smaller the attendance is smaller. The show is outside and load in and out is tight.  The fee is high if you consider the previous.  We don't have lodging expenses on top of this and but still eliminated this show.  Fall is busier and larger with exhibitors going down the street as well as the field.  There are more parking issues as a result.  New people do well if you do it consider a double booth so you get seen.  It is still expensive for an outdoor show.


    • Thank you, Deb, for your response.  Do you consider it a country show? 


      • There are some country things there, but I wouldn't  consider it a country show.  The customers come from NJ, PA and NYC and Staten Island.

        • Hi, Deb:

          Thanks so much!  I just looked at mapquest and it would be only two hours on the road which is a BIG plus.


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