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We thought we would share our experience at the River Clay Fine Arts Festival which was held this past weekend in Decatur, Alabama. This was our third fair, so our frame of reference is limited. This was the first year for this event, but you would never have guessed that based on the organization and civic support. The festival was located in a park adjacent to city hall in the downtown area. There were approximately 60 booths. Load in was easy, with one lane of the street next to the park designated as a loading zone.  Arrival times were staggered so the loading zone did not become too congested. We arrived at our appointed time and only had to wait a few minutes for a space to open. You did have to dolly from the street to your assigned space but that was not a big problem because there was a network sidewalks in the park. We only had to off road about 50 feet.  There were volunteers and even some trustees from the county jail available to help with the heavy lifting. The trustees were wearing orange shirts.  As luck would have it so was I.  No cases of mistaken identity however. 

The long range forecast had been for perfect weather.  Two days before the event the forecast changed to clouds and rain.  We were closely watching the radar, hoping for a window for a dry unload.  We were able to get our canopy up and pieces under cover before it started.  It drizzled most of the afternoon while we hung our work.  

On Friday night there was a preview party for folks who paid 50.00 for a ticket which allowed them first choice of the art and complimentary wine, beer and food. At 5pm the rain had stopped and the patrons started to arrive. It appeared to us that most of these folks were there to support the event, visit with friends, and not necessarily purchase anything.  We did have some nice interaction with the crowd. The artists as well as the patrons enjoyed the wine, beer and food. At 7pm the artists closed their booths and made their way to the local art school where there was live music and more wine, beer and food.

Saturday was off and on rain and cloudy.  Despite the rain and a three dollar admission fee, we think the event was fairly well attended. Breakfast and lunch was provided for the artists both days. Volunteers were everywhere willing to help, booth sit, bring water, etc.  I am not sure I have ever been so well hydrated.

As for sales, ours were not what we had hoped for.  We basically made our expenses and a little profit.  The painter next to us sold an original and a few prints of his work. Others we spoke to did well, while others had similar experiences as we did.  There were definitely more sales on Sunday than Saturday based on what we saw walking by our booth. 

Despite our sales total. it was a very enjoyable event.  The hard work and preparation was evident everywhere you looked.  I cannot tell you how many civic leaders, committee members and volunteers thanked us for being there.  All of our questions beforehand received prompt responses. Many thanks to the local Decatur artists, particularly Mary Reed, who worked with the steering committee to make the event artist focused.    

  

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It truly was our pleasure.  :)  Go get 'em in Bluff Park!

Yippee! Excellent review, hitting all the pertinent details.Great to hear good news.

Congrats, to you and your committeee, Mary.

I loved this show!  It's always wonderful to do a show -- especially one brand new like this -- that treats the artists so well!  I'll be back with bells on!

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