MD (1)

Annapolis Art and Wine Festival 2017

Annapolis Art & Wine Festival
Annapolis, MD
June 10-11
Booth fee $375 (? can't remember exactly)

I'm an oil painter, with pieces from $75 to $4500, and I had an astonishingly good show. But I have to say that my success - close to $10K - felt like an absolute miracle. Everywhere around me, artists didn't make their booth fees.

This show takes place in the Navy-Marine Corps stadium parking lot. It is a hard-dirt, treeless expanse, surrounded by blacktop. I've done this show three times, and it's been brutally hot all three times, and this was no exception. The only break from the heat is the occasional burst of hot wind that blows dirt all over your sweaty self.

Load-in and load-out are easy - drive up to the booth - but can be chaotic, as there's basically no oversight, and everyone can drive willy-nilly in whatever direction they want.

This year, the booths were in groups of eight, four back-to-back to another four, then a break for an aisle, then another group of eight booths. There is no room behind the booths for storage. Artist parking is at the end of the show, and is plentiful and easy. There's room there for RVs, as well.

This is a wildly uneven show, with beautiful, original art sitting next to booths with spice packages, manufactured hats, olive oil. I saw lovely jewelry, nice woodwork, really great painting in all media. I don't recall any pottery, though, or fabric.

The wine and craft beer is the major draw, I think, and those tents were the only ones where you could see crowds. It was a desert for most of the event, from where I was set up. The other two times I did this show, it was so crowded, it was hard to get across the aisles. I think the organizers expanded, even doubled the footprint, but that simply does not account for the sparsity of the crowd.

There's a gate fee of $12 if you don't want to drink, and $45 if you do. That allows you pretty much as much wine and beer as you want, I believe. In addition, there's a $10 parking fee, which understandably made many people irate.

The artists around me were just great. I had friends in the next booth, and all of us in our area became friendly fairly quickly. They could not have been nicer, or more supportive, about my success. Our little eight-booth community made the difference between this difficult and brutally hot show being a total downer and a decent experience.

I can't say that I recommend this show, but I'd be idiotic to say that I didn't. If you have pricey items, and can make a profit by selling one or two things, you might consider it. Otherwise, I'd think long and hard.

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