Call for Artists, Making Money at Juried Art Fairs, Craft Shows and Festivals
The Magic City Art Connection (MCAC) was held in Linn Park in Birmingham, Alabama last weekend. It is a local show for us and was our best grossing show last year. We were looking forward to a repeat. It was not to be. The show is a three day event, Friday and Saturday from 10 - 6 and Sunday from 10 - 5. You have to dolly in from one of the streets bordering the park on a staggered schedule. Load in was non eventful. There was plenty of room for our trailer. We paid for a premium location this year which was in the dead center of the show which made the trip from the trailer a lot longer. It was very hot and humid so we were both spent when we were done setting up. There was an oversize vehicle lot (free) about six blocks away. I noticed some artists camping there but there are no hook ups for an RV.
Friday sales were slow. Most of our friends said they covered booth which was our experience. Disappointing, since we killed it on Friday last year. The buying energy just was not there for us. We had a great sales day on Saturday. It was hot but we had a good crowd and made one big sale that nicely supplemented a lot of print bin action.
The weather on Sunday was iffy at best. Earlier in the week the forecast had been for thunderstorms to arrive at about 5pm. When we looked at the radar Sunday morning it was evident that the bad weather would arrive much earlier although the weather guy was predicting 4pm. When we arrive at the show we were told that they were constantly evaluating the weather and based on the 4pm prediction they were considering closing at 2pm to give everyone enough time to get out. That seemed like a good plan to us if they weather cooperated that long. We really wanted to get in as much of the day as possible. After that we got a lot of conflicting information and no clear guidance on the show's plan. At 12:30 we decided it was not worth the risk and started packing up. I had parked the truck on the street as close as possible to the show but it was still a two block dolly up hill. We managed to get everything on the ground with the art work in the trailer when the rain hit. It was torrential. At one point I dropped a padlock from the trailer door and it got swept away in the current and down a drain before I could react.
It is too bad that the show was rained out on Sunday because the people were showing up. Usually folks around here are very weather aware but even as the storm was about to hit they were still paying the $5.00 at the gate and coming in. We had good sales even as we were packing up. I think we would have had a great day had the weather cooperated.
We like this show and will apply again next year. There is a lot of civic pride here and our local images sell well. They provide a continental style breakfast in the morning with coffee that is actually pretty decent. The art museum in across the street. Their cafe will do take out. It is expensive but good. The food vendors at the show are what you typically find but our local BBQ Full Moon had a truck there which is always good. There was an awards dinner Friday night with beer and wine. We did have a couple of glasses of wine but did not stay for the dinner. Bring you own water and plenty of it. No one came around our area with drinks and it is hot and humid. Our cooler was full each morning and empty by the end of the day. Downtown Birmingham is transforming. There are any number of great restaurants to pick from. Our absolute favorite in El Barrio on 2nd Ave North. The bottom line is we had a good show despite the weather drama. This was our eighth show this year and the first time we have been impacted by the weather. It was also the first time, but I am sure not the last, that we have packed up in the rain. It was a good learning experience but we could have gotten our feet wet with a light shower instead of a down pour.