Art Fair Insiders

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Fair on the Square, Baraboo, WI. May 14th

This was my first time doing the Fair on the Square in Baraboo.  They didn't hand out booth assignments until 6a, with the fair starting at 9a.  I take a long time to set up when I'm doing a fair alone, so I got there early in hopes of getting my assignment early, so I could start setting up.  I got there about 5:15 and was the 9th in line. 


I was impressed with their organization.  Streets had been clearly marked with no parking signs and a few food and ride booths were already set up.  There were two cars parked on the street.  One was promptly towed.  The other turned out to be owned by a bakery employee who ran out to move it just before the tow truck got there.  The cars were gone by 6a & the assignments began.  Assignments were given out quickly & they had a very clear map, so it was easy to find your spot.  There were yummy doughnuts & coffee available for the artists too.  We were able to pull right up to our spots to unload & were supposed to move the vehicle before setting up.  Some followed that rule, some didn't but I didn't see anyone blocked from their booth by another artist's vehicle.  Everyone around me was very considerate.  There were 4 parking lots available for artists, so we were all able to park within 1 block of the fair.  The booths had room for storage in the back, which was great.  Through out the fair they had a gentleman who went up & down the street with a garbage bin, so artists didn't have to accumulate trash in their booths.  An officer on a bike was also patrolling but I don't think he had any business.  There were assorted performances going on too (karate demo, belly dancing, a play just to name a few things).


Although the fair was well organized & laid out, the weather didn't cooperate.  The forecast was for a high of 56 with showers thru out the day, as well as 15-25 mph winds.  The rain held off while we all set up & either the winds didn't get as high as forecast or the buildings sheltered us.  We did have mist/drizzle off & on thru out the day but no real rain.  We had a few hardy Wisconsinites come out to buy but unfortunately, I as well as most of the artists around me didn't even make our expenses. 


My biggest frustration was the two women who came in and chose several pieces of my jewelry to purchase.  They asked for the findings to be changed from gold to silver on one piece.  I told them it would take a few minutes to make the change, so they said they'd shop a bit more, then come back.  They never showed up.  I can understand if they didn't want to purchase but I thought it was pretty rude not to show up after asking me to change the findings.  They were well dressed, clearly well educated & I didn't have any qualms about trusting them.  Next time, I'll at least get a deposit.  Lesson learned.

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Comment by Lyn Chevrier on May 25, 2011 at 3:48pm
Jillian, I applaud you for doing the show, I heard the weather report and decided not to go and the only loss was the show fee.  With gas prices & lodging I knew that it would be a lost.  The fall show is great.
Comment by Jillian Cori Lippert on May 18, 2011 at 9:21pm
I'm signed up for it already.  I asked some of the other artists around me about it.  They all said it's a much better fair.  It makes sense; with the fall colors, there should be a lot of tourists in the area and by that time, people will be thinking about Xmas gifts.
Comment by Laura Casper on May 18, 2011 at 12:51pm
I think that there is another Baraboo art fair in the fall.  Has anyone ever done that show?
Comment by Jillian Cori Lippert on May 18, 2011 at 12:36am
Lesson has been learned Annette.
Comment by Annette Piper on May 17, 2011 at 6:32pm
Thanks for the report Jillian.   It sounds like the show was well organised but the weather can always let you down.   If people want findings changed or adjustments done,  I do the sale first then do the work.

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