Call for Artists, Making Money at Juried Art Fairs, Craft Shows and Festivals
Last year was the first time I tried this show. It wasn't spectacular but there was a decent return for the effort and sales were worthwhile enough to make a return trip.
It's a one day show put on by the local arts organization in conjunction with the city government. the show is arranged around a large fountain in a city park. You have to dolly in from the street, but there are two one way streets either side of the venue, so it's not difficult and it's on concrete all the way.
Set up is on Sunday morning starting at 7:00 but when I arrived there at that time, probably half of the show tents were already up. Probably anticipating rain. More on that sad story in a moment. Show times run 11 to 5, tear down to follow immediately and vehicles could be brought in at 5:15.
The staff was great to work with and lots of volunteers are available to help out who also circulated around constantly.
Some spaces are short on storage space behind the booth, but generally there is enough if you scoot your booth out a little. It's a good sized show, but not large with about a hundred artists there.
Last year was warm, hot at times, but very well attended and sales were brisk last year. The monsoons hit this year, and hit with a vengeance. We had just got a double booth put up and side tarps attached, and had dollied in the tubs and propanels when the rains hit. It continued raining until 3:00 with only temporary respites. A couple of the young volunteers, young ladies of about 20-22 years old, gave up on trying to keep dry and dropped their shoes off and were spotted dancing in the rain :-)
The rain came down heavy and a community group across from me had an inexpensive pop up tent that collected water badly on top. Too late they tried to take the corner down to drain the large pool up there and used a pole to try and push the top up and off, but pushed the wrong direction. There was a loud "snap" and the thing collapsed into a pile of broken struts. Another artist was seen using an umbrella to push water out of the EZ-Up they had about every couple of minutes.
We knew the probability of rain was high for the day, about 80%. I didn't expect much traffic and was correct. I was surprised to hear from the few fair-goers (notice I'm not saying customers) that anywhere from 20 to 25% of the artists didn't show. I walked around a few times, saw some folks I knew and also got to see Kathy Oda from South Carolina.
However, it came down to this, there was only about an hour and a half where there was anything like a crowd coming through, and that was after 3:00 until 4:30, and the show creaked to a wet and soggy ending. End result was I sold zip and nada. Lots of talkers, gave out cards to some folks who were looking to decorate further down the road. needless to say it was very disappointing, but I wouldn't have gone out myself on a day like that.
The staff did come around and pass out disposable rain ponchos which were appreciated. One wag suggested we looked like giant Trojans wearing those things. They didn't help much as you sweated so badly under them that you were drier standing in the rain.
I'll try the show again next year as I don't think anyone did very well, and I certainly didn't see packages being carried around very often. The woodworker next to me sold a couple of pieces so they were happy that they made some money, and a glass worker a few more booths down sold a couple of pieces, but that was about it. Maybe someone else from the other side of the show did well and they can contribute to this rainy day tale of woe. Sometimes these things are a crap shoot, and the weather rolled snake eyes for us. The only saving grace was that the rain stopped at 3:00 and we were able to pack up with no rain.
Now it's time to clean up and get ready for the Lexington Woodland show with more predictions of bad weather for next weekend, and topping that off is with the rainy weather we'll have to dolly in from the street and across wet soggy ground.
Here's a moment when the rain wasn't coming down quite so hard.