Call for Artists, Making Money at Juried Art Fairs, Craft Shows and Festivals
2018 version of the Fountain Hills Great Fair in Fountain Hills, AZ an isolated community NE of Phoenix. I say isolated meaning that it grew up outside the boundaries of the larger metro area but still within reach. This was the third time I've attended this show with diminishing returns this year.
Just The Facts...
Show Hours and Dates: Fountain Hills Great Fair, Fountain Hills, AZ. Feb. 23-25, 2018, 10 - 5 each day but it helps to be open by 9:30 for the early crowd. There is also a November edition of this show. This show can be found on the Zapplication call for entry website.
Load in for the show was Thursday afternoon starting at 5 pm after businesses are closed and roads are clear. Depending on your location load-in/out can either be frustrating or less so. I was on the far NW side of the show so it was a little less congested then down near the fountain. I can't help but wonder if my location lead to lower sales, i.e., if I had been closer to the fountain would I have done better?
This show has always relied on the artists to figure out their own plans for food, the usual "fair food" is available. I had leftovers and there are nearby regular restaurants and a grocery store that I've gotten sandwiches from the night before. The occasional volunteer booth sitters came by.
Storage, Booth Space:
Most booths, that I could see, had some sort of storage space behind them. Booths are allowed 4 feet of clear space behind them which was enough for me to put my two wheeler back there and stack stuff on it.
Can't speak to "buying trends" as I didn't see much buying going on. I guess that is a trend in-and-of-itself! Low end was the rule of the show. Not so much artwork as trinkets were walking by.
Quality/Range of Art:
The range of "art" was very wide. From my survey of booths content was variable. There of course were some high end artists and a lot of (good and bad) craft items, food, ointments and clothes.
You either brought your own or went to the typical "fair food" vendors. On my end of the show there was the lemonade vendor that is at all the AZ shows and the huge fair food truck/booth. I think a service organization was cooking the obligatory burgers and hotdogs somewhere.
I don't often comment on the weather but it is notable here. In previous years of doing this show it was just right. Not so this year. A large cold front that was blanketing the more northerly states made its appearance here in the form of lower than average temps and a lot of wind! It made for a very uncomfortable weekend in addition to the paltry sales. I was hoping for some respite from the cold in Denver but not so this year!
This was not a first time show for me. I know (sometimes) when it's time to bail on a show. Usually it's when your revenue one year goes to half, you think it's a fluke, and the next year it's half again. That was the case with this show so I guess it's time to bail! This show lacked enthusiasm, it seemed as if it were being held out of some obligation and not out of a real spirit of support for the arts or the artists. As is the case, when that happens it seems to be a swan song. I've heard that there is a November edition of this show and of course "it's much better!" Maybe I'll give it a try after 2020.
Okay, now for the star rating! I'd give this show 1/2 ✩ out of 5 and that's being generous. As far as the buying goes, I'd give it 1/4 ✩ and that's being way to generous. I did lose money doing this show.