Call for Artists, Making Money at Juried Art Fairs, Craft Shows and Festivals
OK, here's one for the west coast gang.
The Holiday Food and Gift Festival in Tacoma, Washington just celebrated their 29th year last Wednesday through Sunday (you read that right folks - five days). It's held in the Tacoma Dome and both are an institution in this city. It's been since the late 90's since I've been here, so I'm going to share the HFGF past, present, and future.
Back in the 90's, there would be several thousand people lined up outside in the wind and rain waiting to get into the doors. Anything and everything that was hand made was gobbled up like that last bit of turkey on the bone. Back then I started to notice that items that people made by their two hands were becoming more of a novelty than a fact. And, so it remains in the present.
The show is mostly commercial with a smaller section called "Artists-in-Action" that is handmade by the artist and they are also supposed to be demoing their craft to the public. However, there was very little demonstrating going on. This group was also offered a 40% discount on their booth - nice incentive for being in the show; it would be nice if this were applied to all that made their wares.
There were two booths in my row that had re-cycled clothing. The one lady I spoke with was buying clothes by the pound from the Goodwill, washing, and selling them in a double booth. Her competitor was obviously doing something similar.
There were lots of imported Christmas ornaments, socks, back massagers, a music-type player that will connect to your used pizza box to use as a speaker, and this time included was Direct TV, Verizon, Sprint, walk in bath tubs, dip mixes, etc, etc, etc. Not being here since 1998 was a real eye opener.
The show moves to a four-day week for their 30th anniversary, rumor has it that the city increased the rental rate and they decided to go to the lesser days to avoid a cost increase to their vendors. At $995 per 10x10, I believe it's going to be a tough sell. Even tougher is that they've decided to do a similar show in Seattle next year at the convention center. They are asking $795 for that two-day show. Hmm. Seems a little astronomical to me!
Mackie and I did mediocre, but we did do a lot better than most. This is definitely a bargain hunting mostly Christmas a low-end imported toy shopping crow. My thought is that real artists need to find other opportunities.
Other Tacoma Info
Load in and out is fairly easy as long as one is patient and parking is plentiful. There's an RV lot right at the Dome that has back in spaces with full hook ups for $30 per night. The Tacoma Dome Hotel is in the parking lot and offers those needing a room for $79 per night. There is a great bar in the hotel with reasonable food and beverages.
All in all we had a nice time but will be back to our regular west coast schedule next year after moving back west from Florida. But, that's another story.