Call for Artists, Making Money at Juried Art Fairs, Craft Shows and Festivals
Name: Estes Park Labor Day Arts and Crafts Show
Location: Estes Park, CO
Dates: Friday August 30 to Monday September 2, 2019
Management: Estes Valley Sunrise Rotary
Fees: Jury $35, Booth $325
Application: www.estesparkartdandcrafts.com, starting 12/1/2019 for 2020
My Medium: Plain and hand carved western lifestyle personal, equine and K-9 leather goods, gun belts and holsters. Price range: $5-$10K.
Estes Park is the gateway to the east side of Rocky Mountain National Park. There are many summer homes in the surrounding mountains and valleys, and it is a popular destination for metro Denver. The mix of contemporary and early 20th century homes reminds me of the Adirondacks. You encounter a broad spectrum of income levels, and foreign visitors. I have been doing this show continuously since 2010. I have also done the Memorial Day show in May during the same period. The show is produced by the Estes Valley Sunrise Rotary, Inc. The Labor Day crowd is large, and there is a constant flow of patrons through the show. The show hours were 10-6 Saturday and Sunday and 10-3 on Monday. This was a change from the usual show hours of 9-5 and 9-3 respectively in prior years.
SET UP AND TAKE DOWN
One hundred five booths are set up around the perimeter of Bond Park and in the parking lot in front of the Town Hall and library. This includes three food trailers at the NW corner of the park. There were also three Rotary tents and a “Kids” tent. People with trailers were given an option of starting set up at 7:00 Friday morning and could drive to their sites. I was there at 8:00 and could unload at my spot. Later in the morning, artists parked in designated areas and Rotary volunteers dollied artist to their sites and helped with set up. Take down was Monday at 3:00 pm. Rotarians were available to dolly artist to their vehicles in designated parking areas. Later, artists could bring in vehicles to load up. You must have paid taxes before you got a loading permit. The Rotary volunteers are experienced and the best group of any show I attend.
Trailers park at the fairgrounds and there is a free shuttle back to the park. Artists park on streets or in lots away from the perimeter of Bond Park.
ART, ARTISTS, AMENITIES, WEATHER
There is a broad spectrum of art and craft at this show to meet the interests of a broad spectrum of visitors to Estes Park. There were high end jewelers and photographers to handmade soaps and edibles. Many of the artists have done this show for several years, but there is always a mix of new people. This year the show was heavy on jewelry, but it was all different. Wildlife and landscape photography were better represented than 2-D pencil, oil and watercolor. Ceramics, garments, glass, metal, wood, leather, edibles and cosmetics were represented.
The Rotary had coffee and donuts for artists every morning. There were two silent auctions of donated art every day. Booth sitters were available by appointment. Clean, indoor, accessible restrooms are in the Town Hall. A banner advertises the show at a major intersection and sandwich boards with color brochures were at strategic locations around the park. The brochures had an aerial view of the park with booths shown on one side and a list of exhibiting artists and booth numbers on the opposite side.
There were two changes at the show this year which did not set well with most artists. Several artists were moved from their general locations in prior years. The show hours were changed from 9-5 to 10-3. After 3:00pm, the crowd thins out and we did not have any sales after 5:00 on either day.
Thunderstorms and wind are common at the Estes Park shows. This year, there only scattered clouds on days in the low 80’s.
SALES AND ANALYSIS
My sales over nine years have ranged from $2.69K to $4.9K with an average of $4.1K. I had 58 sales which was down from 75 last year, but the average sale was up $5 to $62. with an average of $57. Belts were my best seller, but I also sold billfolds, checkbooks, suspenders, holsters, gun belts, computer pouches and napkin rings. I only have one post-show special order for a belt.
This year I was happy to break $3K because the crowd was smaller and I noticed a lack of foreign visitors, based on various languages I hear spoken. I had only one opportunity to practice my Spanish with a visitor from Columbia.
Our favorite 1898 cabin we have rented for the show was sold this summer and we were relocated in a house whose kitchen, bath and dining room were as large as the Bear Bottom Cabin. It was HUGE! Saturday night Dan and Steve Sawusch, Jean and I took Weldon Lee and Laurie out to dinner to celebrate his retirement from shows. Weldon is a wildlife photographer we have known for several years.
A potter from Israel was very interested in the technique of carving and stamping leather and that none of the material was removed to get the dimension. A belt sale to a deaf-mute couple was an interesting experience for us.
Sunday evening a cow elk and her calf were browsing in the willows near the NW corner of the park. Wildlife are a fact of life at Colorado mountain shows. Be prepared for elk, moose, bear, beaver, deer and the usual raccoons and skunks. Don’t leave food or trash in your tent overnight. You can read the bear stories in older reviews.
Every summer the Rotary has a raffle to support scholarships and other projects. This year the top prize is $10,000 and tickets are $100. I got mine last May. Several years ago, I won $5000 with a $25 ticket. This year, 300 tickets will be sold and that is pretty good odds. Rotarians think I am lucky and wanted to sell me this year’s winning ticket.
TIP: If you plan to do an Estes Park show, or for that matter any Colorado mountain show, read up on “altitude sickness prevention”. Most mountain communities are at 7,000’ to 8,000’ elevation and you need at least one day to acclimatize to the altitude.
Photos: 1. North perimeter booths and Longs Peak (14,259’) in RMNP