Art Fair Insiders

Call for Artists, Making Money at Juried Art Fairs, Craft Shows and Festivals

Great Gulfcoast Art Festival--the best fall festival in Florida

When I come back to Florida after five months in Michigan, the GGAF (Pensacola) is the best show to do in Florida in November and December. All the other shows are ok for keeping your head above water (read, being able to pay the bills).
People make great sales at this show almost every year. By great, I mean $4K and up.
I will do another blog about the other shows I did in this time frame, but for now, let us talk about Pensa, GGAF.
It is always the first weekend in November. It is a three day show with a staggered Thursday setup. You can do Friday morn too.
This is the only big outdoor show in the region for the year.
It draws enthusiastic crowds, some of them actually buy art.
It is a tough juried show. Not many get in year after year.
Pensacola i s a very mellow southern town.
Easy to traverse, their traffic jams are a joke, almost non-existent.
The town has numerous restaurants, many within walking distance of the show--like Hub Stacys right on the corner.
It is run by a committee who seems to have good transitioning when they change show directors almost yearly.
Pensacola sits on the water with a lively beach just across a long causeway. Then you are on the Gulf.
Many artists stay at cheap beach rentals when doing this show.
I love coming to this town. Inexpensive seafood, copious drinks, friendly natives, and a mellow pace of life warm my native Cracker bones.
A Cracker is a native born Floridian, which I am. My Grandpa, Big Norwegian Nels, retired in St. Petersburg back in the 30-ies. I grew up in St. Pete in the mid-forties and watched it grow to the jewel it is now.
Some people say the origin for the word "Cracker" came from the cowboys who herded cattle in Florida. They "cracked" their whips while herding.
Oh well, back to Pensacola.
The show is held in a tree-sheltered park right in the heart of downtown. There are also booths on the street facing into the park.
Most people have ample storage space behind and a lot of times on at least one side. And the booth fee is not outrageous.
You gotta use weights, no staking down.
The park is usually always a dust bowl. You will be continually be wiping off inventory.
Street people do not have as much dust problems.
This is about the only negative thing I can say about this show.
You see great artists here, there are no slouches and buy/sell is at a very rare small number.
They always do an outrageous free dinner for artists on Friday eve, awards are given, scores of shrimp are gobbled, and free beer flows. All at a local seafood restaurant near the show.
This year the show happened to be right on the weekend before the Presential election.
Trump signs were everywhere, Hillary signs were almost non-existent.
When I played golf on Monday, after the show, I found a golf ball sitting in a sand trap by the last green.
Scribbled in black ink on it were the words F__ck Hillary!
Tells you a lot about the tenor of the locals.
Back to the show.
Friday was very slow. It always is. The money people are working and the old farts are just looking for something free to do. If you sell $500 you are lucky. There are, of course, always exceptions.
Saturday was a perfect weather day, as was all days of the show. The previous year, wet weather killed a lot of sales.
Saturday started slow but gained momentum by noon. At 5pm I was a happy camper.
A scant block away from the show is this awesome seafood restaurant called the Fish House. I almost always eat here every night. They do an awesome shrimp and grits which is one of the best I have ever tasted anywhere in this country. Just ask Patti Stern if you do not believe me.
Sunday was another beautiful day with clear sky's and decent sales.
Pensacola is very Southern. Clue in the music for, ahem, very traditional, conservative choices.
Alternative art does not sell well.
I had one of my best ever shows here, I will go back again in a heartbeat.
BTW, you see many heavyweight artists, from all over the country, that ought to tell you something.
Well, I am blogging at Berninis, a scant two blocks from my Ybor house. I have hit my limit on $3 Finlandia martinis,might have been 25 or 26, who is counting. Luckily I can roll south across the rr tracks and land on my front porch. Thank God for Gravity.
Just kidding, I only had three. Hell, it is almost Christmas, and I scored well on the golf course today.
Mele Kelikimaka everybody. And may all your sales be gigantic in 2017.

Views: 493

Comment by Loren Fisher on December 24, 2016 at 3:09pm

I'm glad it worked for you, out of 27 shows I did this year, it was #26 in revenue for me. Only one was worse. I've never been in any place that was so dusty and dirty, fortunately I was warned and brought a rug that I had to throw out afterward because it was never going to get clean. There was a lot of traffic but few buyers of 2D art, at least near me. I won't be back.

Comment by Christina L. Towell on December 28, 2016 at 8:31am

Thanks, Nels, you always make me feel like I was there...very descriptive and gritty (dusty?).

Comment by Cindy Welch on December 28, 2016 at 11:49am

Thanks for this detailed review.  I always enjoy reading your posts because you don't forget the details.  :)

Comment by Nels Johnson on December 30, 2016 at 4:38pm
Thanks everybody, I will always keep a sharp eye there


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