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I was wondering if anyone has worked with these shows and would be willing to add their experiences over in the Art Fair Reviews?

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I did two years all of the spring and all of the fall shows. Let me put it nicely they are very very expensive for what you get. I am all about spending 800-1500 for a booth or more but I expect a certain return and never reached that number. People line up and spends tons with the food and dip people but other then that I am not sure. Some buy/sell, and too many people in each category.  I found that many people in my category and others sold very low end work.  Sugarloaf claims to have a very loyal clientele and I would agree with that, they also have "lifers" for artists as well. The owners George and Deanne are very nice people but rarely ever attend the shows.  Also be aware that many of the locations other then Philadelphia and Chantilly are in very old run down buildings with maryland being in livestock barns (it smells and is dirty)! My best sales were in Chantilly and Phildelpha with Gaithersburg being ok. We had sales in the 3000-5000 range with a booth and a half with 3 day shows and 5-6 days being gone from the studio adding up all the expenses not worth the hassle.  I realize this post is not in the reviews section but I hope it helps anyhow.
Ive done this show twice in the past. I tend to agree with Scott. The food booths and free dip sample booths seemed very busy. I did not feel SUGARLOAF is worth doing for original artists. Just my opinion.

As with any promoter, many exhibitors will swear by them, and others will swear at them.

What it comes down to at any show is, are you offering what the customers want? It's that simple. Those who have what the customers don't care for, say the show is terrible. While the opposite is true for those who have what's selling.

If you're in an area where classic folk art sells, and you have funky art, is the promoter to blame for your lack of sales?

I have a friend who paints in the Grandma Moses style. She does Hartford, CT and Somerville, NJ. She always does well. She is one who swears by them. 

Thanks for your replies, I am going to try the Gaithersburg Sugarloaf show in November, it's close and I've attended it as a customer several times... mostly I've heard from folks (again as customers) around here that it used to be a good show now but it's gone downhill, we'll see.

I sure did get into awful quick at a late date, which I took as a bad sign, this annoyed my husband who was very happy got in. I'll try not to attack my keyboard with a vengeance if it doesn't go well, I might try to take some notes about the experience and add them to the reviews though. Guess I'll be taking air freshener;)

I'll be very interested in your take.  I sell jewelry and have applied to the spring shows.
Good luck Diane:)

Okay - I just got the acceptance for the Sugarloaf shows for Winter/Spring and have to make a decision quickly whether to do the shows.  I do hand hammered metal jewelry and beadweaving.  I would consider myself fine craft.  My concern is the MD shows.  I have visions of livestock barns with sawdust in them.., I did a show in Warren, Pa (wild winds) like that and it was awful. I think the others are in expo centers which should be alright - right?  Need help with this decision.  These shows are in jan, march, and april when there really isn't much happening up here in the Northeast - so that is another consideration.   Thanks

 

The barns do have dirt floors - you need a rug.

The Gaithersburg show also uses an indoor building.  You should call and tell them you'll only do the show if you can be indoors if that's what is true for you.  Next time, put that in your application.  Also you'll need lights for the barn locations.

The Timonium fairgrounds barns are not pleasant. Do bring a good broom and a floor covering. Generally, I'd say the fall Sugarloaf shows are better than the Spring.

Maybe the dead of winter shows will work for you though.

Well, I think I will give it a shot this year and hope for the best.  Thanks for the input

I checked their site last year once the artists were listed for their spring shows.  The Oaks show had SO much jewelry (didn't check the other sites).  Even though I'm mostly a bead weaver/embroiderer, it was too much competition for the amount you have to put out for your space.  Just my two cents.    Good luck!

 

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