Arts and Apples—Stinker for me, good for others

This is a tough blog to write.  I want to be fair and give an accurate account of the show.

For me, a veteran of 45 years of shows, this is my last time there.

Once upon a time this was the best show to do in Michigan.  Better than Ann Arbor.

Now it is way past those glory days.

When you allow handmade puppets 101 into your show along with another 100 sub-crafty booths it is time to say aloha.

I could not even do a thousand a day for three days, that is my minemum that I will put up with at a show. I do not care whether you are an artist or a crafter if you cannot do $1K a day, time to move on--your expenses and time are worth more than that.  Just saying.

OK. I will get off the soapbox and give a good report.  I always give a lot of super info that is really helpful to newbies, I give way more than you see in any blog out there.

Once upon a time in America there was a lovely early fall art festival held in a beautiful wooded city park with a magical running stream, replete with diving mallards.

People flooded the park by the thousands.  They rejoiced in the sounds of marching bands, mixed with lively stage dancers.  The smells of popcorn and smoking sausages wafted thru the air. OK there were lots of white tents there.  Some were full of paintings, others were covered with photos from all over the world.  You could find pottery in every color of the rainbow.  Some were filled with wonderful crafted wooden furniture, jewelry ran the gamut from bronze to precious jewels.

There were also tents filled with puzzles made out of wood.  There were handmade clothing items, crafty puppets.

The people flitted along like fireflies. They would quickly flit in and out, maybe give a shout, to the artist, "nice work!".  Then on to the next booth.

To me, they would chuckle, tell me that I had a great sense of humor, then move on.  No moola for Nels.

They called the show Arts and Apples.

It is held on the second week in September.  A three day show with setup the day before and the morning of the first show day.

It's held in Rochester,Michigan. A very affluent city north of Detroit. Oakland County.  Lots of moola here.

It is run by the Paint Center of Arts. It is a fundraiser for them.  They are going to get 300 booths in their show come hell or high water. They charge a very hefty booth fee (look it up on Zapp, you gotta do a little work for all the gold I give you).

Used to be, the 300 booths, were all great artists,It was an honor to be juried in.

Not that way now.

There were empty spaces all thru the show.  Who needs a waitlist.

Many artists made serious money here.

But many artists with outstanding work died here.

The crowd was not buying art.  They bought basic art 101. I know, there are exceptions.  A few great artists sold their work.  Notice I said, "a few."

I was pretty much ignored. Friday was a debacle.  Did $300.

Saturday the crowds were out in serious numbers, shoulder to shoulder.

Did not help me one bit.  Did not even come close to a thousand.

The judge came into my booth, took one look at an image, then whirled out right.  Some judge.

BTW. Besides doing shows for 45 years, I have been consistent in getting into at least three biggies in the biz every year.  These are always $10K plus.

I also do at least 20 other shows where you grind it out to make a living.

Also, this October, I turn 76.

The setup at shows takes a serious toll on your body as you age.  Trust me, I feel it.  Most shows, after setup, I take a hour nap to recoup.

OK.  Back to the show.

Here is my recommendation about whether you should do the show.

They buy basic, traditional, conservative items, mostly Lowend.  If you got that, then try it.

For me, it is aloha to this show.  Did my first art show by a waterfall in Hawaii in 1974.

If you want to see my work go to

OK.  Now a Tequila Report.

This is when I tell about finding an exceptional place to eat at.

I have written about this place in previous blogs, but this format is not setup that easy to find those previous blogs.  Plus, most of you would never take the time to search.

So enjoy this.

The restaurant I am going to write about, in my humble estimation after traveling the Midwest for more than 35 years, is one of the best deals ever anywhere.

It's called Luckys Prime Time Restaurant.  They are on Walton Road about one mile west of downtown Rochester. Use Googlemaps.

I have eaten here for more than six years. They are the berries.

You want a good filet.

How about four two ounce filets, cooked to temperature. With a salad or soup plus a loaf of bread. Then pick a side, like a baked potato or sweet potato, or sautéed spinach,or five other choices.

What is the price? Try $19.99. Yep.

Want fresh fish.  Try baked grouper with crabmeat in a lobster cream sauce with all that other stuff for $18.99. I got a grouper sandwich for 9.95. Cheaper and larger portion than anywhere in Florida.

Anything here is delicious and well priced in big portions.  Three lobster tails for $30.99, no way. Way.

You gotta go to this place, it is the ultimate deal.


Well, this is my report.  I call them as I see them.

This could be a good show for a lot of you

On to Kansas City Plaza next, this is a real Biggie!.


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  • I just don't understand how this really good-selling show (where your booth smells like apple pie) can have gotten to this level. One of the things that happens is that staff of the events change and the newbies do it their way, ignore past info and neglect to take care of the usual business that makes an artist want to be participating. Maybe this art center has lost a lot of funding and no one is paying much attention to what used to be their cash cow. Who knows?

    We did the show several times in the 90's. It was never a blockbuster for us, but plenty good enough to be happy to be there. Our neighbor had them lined up. That's fine. That happens in this business. It would be our turn at the next show.

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