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Patrons enjoying a rare mild (rainless) night at Autumn & Art @ Bradley Fair in Wichita

The picture doesn't do it justice but the weather was spectacular all weekend...except when it poured at load out time!

Okay, I wont repeat most of what I said about last years show, see the link to review there:

http://www.artfairinsiders.com/profiles/blogs/which-ways-wichita

I will add a few items though.

Show Hours and Dates: Autumn & Art @ Bradley Fair - Wichita, KS.

Sept. 13 - 15 Friday Patron Preview 6-9 PM, Sat 10-7 and Sun 10-5

Logistics:

Still easy to get in, unload and set-up, very well organized for the load-out but....and that's a big BUT. The weather was threatening the last half hour and the volunteer team was sticking to their guns about being packed up before rolling in. I had all my stock in boxes lined up in the street (not the gutter) and my neighbor had already pulled out so there was plenty of room for me to pull in as we were at the end of the row. Nope, have to have it all packed up. Well, it started to rain...and it poured, then the volunteer guy relented and let me drive in but by then the damage was done. It was raining so hard I gave up and left the tent poles up while I retreated to the van. The gutters filled up with water way past my boxes, you get the picture. I was so soaked I gave up and ran out to grab the boxes before they floated down the street with all the garbage the other neighbor left in the street. Happy to say no damage to the art but the boxes? Well I have some rebuilding to do!

Amenities:

Still great stuff. Great Friday night artists dinner with beef or chicken, smashed potatoes and salad. Lunch was provided both Sat. and Sun, whose heard of that in a long time! Plenty of water and snacks the rest of the weekend AND a first class trailer potty, air conditioned, running water...The only criticism, and its a small one, booth sitters tended to come around mostly in the afternoon and not too frequently, that's the worst I can say.

Storage, Booth Space, Load-In/Out:

Plenty for all.

Demographics/Buying Trends:

Unlike last years show that was so ho-hum this year was much better. They beefed up the Patron's program to encourage them to come back all weekend, and they did, with a special patron's area, drinks, food, etc. Right off the bat I made a couple of sales Friday night! Saturday, not-so-much. There was a little action in the morning and I could've taken a nap the rest of the day. Sunday was the big selling day and I sold pretty much all day with Be-Backs!

Pretty much bought the whole range of prices, low, middle and high. All age groups were buying also. As I was trying to pack to get out at 5 I made two big sales! Sales VS Getting out of the rain? Hmmmm

Quality/Range of Art:

Still great quality of art with among myself, other returning artists from last year and some new ones as well

Food:

There wasn't the usual "Fair Food" Jason's Deli was there but then artists didn't have to go to them for food, see above. The patron's were treated to dinner from Newport Grill, RedRock Canyon Grill and YaYa's Eurobistro.

Reflections:

I'm glad I returned to this show. Although I sent out postcards to last years patrons (one did say hello) I'd say there was a whole other crowd that showed up this year and in greater numbers than last. So it seems that their marketing is working and bringing in the potential buyers in greater numbers than last year. I added about 1/3 more in sales from last year so with sales numbers up it was well worth the drive! I'd say that this is a first class show in terms of management, artist treatment, artist numbers (small show under 100) and potential for growth.

One other down side, they were top heavy on Photography! I thought that was only jewelry! There were about 22/80 almost a third of the show! but despite this I felt I had a pretty good show.

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Comment by S Brian Berkun on September 26, 2013 at 9:26pm

They have a nice Patron Program with two tiers. For $100 you get full access; goodies, meals, beer/wine all weekend, at the $75 level you get all the goodies for Friday night only. The $100 level kept'm coming back throughout the weekend.

Comment by Connie Mettler on September 26, 2013 at 9:08pm

Well, good for you Brian, with improving sales at this show. It is so hard to know -- especially since you say there was a lot of competition in your category. Heck, if Cunningham's aren't doing well, I'm staying home.

Just kidding. I've heard a lot of good things about the organizers of this show. There isn't much competition with other art fairs in this region is there? Seems like if they're smart about the marketing they can make this a very solid show, but I'm thinking about how many times can you go to a town this size? I know Wichita isn't small, but if the organizers keep going after the same people and don't enlarge the attendance then the promise won't hold.

Brian, what did they do different on Friday night that brought the good crowds?

Comment by Mary Staby on September 21, 2013 at 3:18pm

Great show. This was also my third year at Autumn and Art. My sales have been very good here but were down this year. I attribute the lower number due having a cold and cough. Bummer! I've never done a show where I was sick. Luckily, by Sunday I was feeling better and had a very good day. The management, venue, artist amenities and the Hilton hotel adjacent to the show are all very big plusses. The people in Wichita are very friendly and willing to buy art. Definitely still on my radar for next year.

Comment by Steve Cunningham on September 20, 2013 at 10:19am

This was my 3 year at the show and it was way down for me, "love your work", goodbye is what I got alot of, but love doesn"t pay the bills.

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