Call for Artists, Making Money at Juried Art Fairs, Craft Shows and Festivals
Every year for over 20 years I dutifully applied to the Laumeier Art Fair in St. Louis because it seemed like a better alternative than any other Mother's Day show within a days drive. After rejection after rejection my luck finally changed and I got in! (Maybe it was because applications numbers were down- possibly due to last year's bad weather which I heard all about from everyone)
So after you try so long to get into a show it's hard not to have your hopes up. The weather was looking pretty good for the weekend. Set up on Friday afternoon was very easy except for the slope. I was on the outer circle which meant my van could be right behind my booth for set up. The slope was the steepest I have ever dealt with but I made it work- though I kind of felt like a drunken sailor every time I walked up and down my booth. The customers commented on it too- one said they were feeling a little "sea sick" from it!
Friday night wasn't bad for a "preview party" I got two good size purchases and covered my booth plus a little. Other artists reported the same though my next door neighbors did not fair well through the whole show. Saturday was very disappointing. The crowds were very thin- my booth was empty way too much and sales were only of items under $40. I was pleasantly surprised to win an "Award of Excellence" with a nice cash prize. (Isn't it ironic to take so long to get in a show and then win a major award?!) Also along with the prize is to be juried in next year which I wondered all day if I wanted that part of the award.
Weather turned a bit in the late afternoon and some gusts made us all jump. I heard that a few booths went down on the far end of the show from where I was. My slanty booth nearly came apart but I was able to save it with trusty zip-ties. Luckily it never rained but the customers were few and far between for the last few hours (we heard it was raining torrents in other parts of the city so people probably thought we were rained out too).
Going into Sunday I had hopes that the show would redeem itself so I could take advantage of the juried exemption for next year. And it DID! The weather was near perfect and the people came in droves! Sales were still mostly of smaller items but I had a lot of them and the numbers worked out in the end to a good solid average show (with award winnings - above average!)
Tear down was easy but I was very glad to have my husband to get the car- that was a long process. They are very slow to let vehicles into the park. If he hadn't been able to get the car I would have been another hour.
Overall a well run show from my perspective. The setting is really great - being surrounded by awesome sculptures. I will be more prepared for the slope next year and happy I don't have to wait another 20 years to get juried in!