Art Fair Insiders

Call for Artists, Making Money at Juried Art Fairs, Craft Shows and Festivals

I started doing craft shows last year trying to figure out what was good for the craft I have - I am not a fine artist but I figured AFI is for artists like me, too!  If it is a family event show, I do pretty well with my hats, etc.  I live in Michigan and have done the Birmingham Winter Craft Show, Delasalle Collegiate, etc.  I am a singing, Fairy Godmother at private parties and events and I can usually get a few bookings out of a show.  Everything I make has to do with celebrating - mostly birthdays and little girls.  The running theme in all my work is a birthday hat.  Does anyone have any suggestions?  Also, I just got a "Sad News from the Berkley Bash" in Michigan - not accepted.  How to pick myself up quickly and move on to the next thing?

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Your craft sounds delightful, you just need to find your venue, right? It's not fine craft but you dont want to do Granny Craft shows, either. I would look for quality traditional craft shows (start visiting them, you'll know) and maybe consider marketing to kid's shops, etc. You don't need to be a fine artist to make money at this business, a lot of it is marketing. Maybe you can do it in costume :) Good luck.

Pat,,

Thank you for the reply.  Yes, marketing is key!  I have some hats in an upscale child's boutique and have actually thought of doing a trade show.  There a a few a year in NY, Atlanta that are for children;s shops.  I will keep trying!  Thank you.

I don't know about your area, but here in Maine and New Hampshire also, there are shows that are "Children & Family" events- They are similar to to Fairs only on a smaller scale kiddie rides, activitis contests, face painting, etcetera. These usually have an Arts & Crafts area, for Artists and Crafters to rent a booth and sell their work. Where your theme is children and party hats, you could potentially do well at these. Check out Somersworth N.H Childrens Festival in June. Google them and see if you can't find something similar in your vicinity.
Thank you for your reply!  I did just get into the St. Nick's show here in Utica, MI for November so I am happy about that.  It is indoors and they get about 9-10,000 people through and is a well known show so I will be making items for that show.  Some of the school festivals are perfect, too.  I will probably place an ad with the Chamber of Commerce in certain towns when they publish here magazines.
Good for you!!
We have tons of summer events here- Celtic festivals, Strawberry Festivals Lobster Fest, Blues Fest, Moxie Fest, Whoopie Pie Fest- you name it, we fest it!! I could potentially book every weekend from Mid May- October 31! And the indoor stuff starts mid September or October and oes right through to the weekend before Christmas!! I have to pace my self- there are so many festivals,fairs, Artwalks and Craft Fairs, that they overlap- so booking carefully!
Deena, check out the Michigan Festivals & Events -- I'd think you'd find lots of opportunities in that organization: www.mfea.org

Echoing Karole's suggestions, have you thought of Renaissance Faires? It could be a fit if you tweaked your costume... just a thought.

 

Best of luck!

I know when I first started I did lots of community events - in Western Pa evey little town has a heritage day it seems - and the exhibitors that had items for kids seemed to do well.  I did not which is why I stopped doing them but try websites like festivalnet.com to locate them for your area.
Thank you to everyone, I appreciate your replies!  Connie, I will look up the site you mentioned, thank you.

Hi, Deena! I’m new to this site but I think I live not too far from you because I have done some of the same shows you are talking about here in southeastern Michigan.  You might want to check out George’s book his site is michigancraftshows.com just make sure you double check the information for the shows listed.  Most of the school shows are listed in this book.  You can pick up a show almost every weekend starting in late October to middle of December in this area if you are looking to be that busy.  It is a matter of finding the right market but also getting your name out there.  Maybe also doing some in the school colors you will be selling at will help. 

Hi Chris,

Thanks for the information, I appreciate it.  Perhaps I have seen you have some of these shows - what is your booth?

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